The Accra Academy was the first private academy to be established in the Gold Coast, present-day Ghana. The academy is one of the foremost secondary educational institutions in Ghana and operates as a non-denominational day and boarding boys’ school, located at Bubuashie, near Kaneshie in the Greater Accra Region.
The academy runs courses in business, science, general arts, general agric and visual arts, leading to the award of a West African Senior School Certificate.
The academy’ s founders provided tuition to students who wanted a secondary-grade education but who did not have financial support to enable them do so. Dr. Kofi Konuah periodically travelled to some of the major towns in each region of the country to organise entrance examinations for students, so as to offer the brilliant but needy among them the opportunity of education in the Accra Academy.
The academy does not offer special admission to brilliant but needy students but, as per a 2005 directive from the Ghana Education Service, admits its students through a school selection placement system. The academy admits both local and foreign students.
The academy was established as a private secondary educational institution in 1931 and gained the status of a Government-Assisted School in 1950. In 1981, the academy gained the status of a completely developed senior secondary school. In 1990, the academy became a semi-autonomous secondary educational institution and operates as such with the aid of a board of governors, a Parent-Teacher Association and a students’ representative council.
Accra Academy was ranked 8th out of the top 100 best high schools in Africa by Africa Almanac in 2003, based upon quality of education, student engagement, strength and activities of alumni, school profile, internet and news visibility
The academy was founded by Dr. Kofi George Konuah,Samuel Neils Awuletey, Gottfried Narku Alema and James Akwei Halm-Addo on July 20, 1931, at Mantse Agbonaa, a suburb of James Town in Accra.
Start in Ellen House
The academy’s founders operated the school from a two-story house that provided classrooms for the students. The facility was named Ellen House after its leaser, Ellen Buckle. The academy began work with a student enrolment of 19, distributed into Forms 1 through to 3. The founders of the academy together with M. F. Dei-Anang and Samuel Sonkor Sackey comprised the initial teaching staff of the school. Sackey worked as a teacher and Bursar and Awuletey taught shorthand and Book-keeping. Lutterodt set up the science department and Alema taught agricultural science.
Government-Assisted School status
In December 1932, the academy presented its first batch of ten students for the Junior Cambridge School Certificate Examination, seven out of whom passed the examination. In 1939, the academy presented 45 students for the Senior Cambridge School Certificate Examination out of whom 42 students passed with 10 students obtaining exemption from the London Matriculation Examination.
In 1947, a recommendation was made to the Director of Education to grant the academy the status of a Government Assisted School. The recommendation was approved and the academy begun operating as a Government Assisted school from 1 January 1950.
Relocating to Bubuashie
The academy operated as a day-school for some time after its inception till it began accommodating students in Claremont House, a single-storey building adjoining Ellen House. Accommodation was limited and therefore was only offered to students in special circumstances. Due to a steady increase in the number of applicants applying for enrolment in the academy, the academy’s administrators began preparations to relocate the academy to a larger and permanent site. The initial site that was acquired to relocate the school was situated at Kokomlemle; however, this site had to be abandoned as a result of a prolonged litigation concerning the ownership of the land. A second site, which was located at Korle Gonno, was also given up because of its remote location.
The search for a new school site ended in 1956 when Halm-Addo succeeded in lobbying the Convention People’s Party government to relocate and expand the academy as part of its accelerated development plan. Owing to his efforts, the academy was offered a thirty seven acre plot of land at Bubuashie, off the Winneba Road.
J. Monta & Sons was awarded the contract to develop the new school site in October 1959, however actual work on the site began in December of the same year and by July 1961, J. Monta & Sons presented the newly developed school site to the school administrators for the celebration of the academy’s thirtieth anniversary. In September of the same year, both staff and students relocated from Ellen House to the present site at Bubuashie. A ceremony to officially recognise the academy’s relocation to Bubuashie was held in February 1962 and A. J. Dowuona-Hammond, then Minister of Education declared the new school site opened. The academy acquired the nickname Little Legon shortly after the new school site was commissioned, when some students from the Western Region who had gained admission into the University of Ghana, reported at the academy instead of the University of Ghana, apparently confused by the close similarity between the infrastructure of both educational institutions. A dormitory block to serve as a residential facility for students was completed later in 1966.
Sixth Form introduction
Student enrolment in the academy as at 1965 had risen to nearly 600, one-third of whom continued to be day-students, owing to the limited boarding facilities available. Academy administrators introduced a sixth-form department. The sixth-form department was not restricted to only graduates from the academy, and applicants from other schools were admitted. The courses offered in sixth form were in the arts and science disciplines only, business study was introduced in September 1970. Fifteen Arts students and eight Science students were offered admission into the Sixth Form for the 1961–62 academic year. Female students were admitted into the sixth form, beginning with the first batch of 100 girls for the 1990–91 academic year.
Becoming a fully-fledged SSS
In 1981, the academy celebrated its golden jubilee with the status of a fully fledged senior secondary school with a student enrolment of 900 and a teaching staff of 52. In 1990, the Provisional National Defense Council permitted the academy to operate as a semi-autonomous educational institution, together with 10 other secondary schools upon acknowledgement by the Secretary of Education, K. B. Asante.
Being a senior high school for boys, the academy offers admission to boys only. Gaining entry into the academy is competitive, and open to students who have completed Junior high school. Prior to writing their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), final year Junior High School students, register for senior high school through a computerized school selection and placement system (CSSPS) which was introduced by the Ghana Education service in 2005.
Unlike in the previous grading system in which a candidate’s overall academic performance in the Basic Education Certificate Examination was obtained by computing the aggregate on the candidate’s best six subject scores, the raw scores obtained by a candidate in the Basic Education Certificate Examination determines the candidates overall academic performance in the exam under the computerized school selection and placement system. Because the computerized school selection and placement system uses a deferred-acceptance algorithm which ensures that Junior high school applicants are admitted strictly based on academic merit, administrators of the academy use raw scores obtained in the Basic Education Certificate Examination to admit applicants from Junior High School.
The programmes run in the academy are: general arts, general science, agriculture, business and visual arts. As part of their computerized school selection and placement system registration, final year junior high school applicants select four elective courses. Unlike elective courses, core courses are offered to all students, irrespective of their programme of study. The academy’s core courses are: English language, core mathematics, social studies, integrated science, ICT core and physical education, however, students are only examined both internally and externally as well, in the first five aforementioned courses.
The academy’s curriculum like that of other senior high schools in Ghana, operates in a three-year academic cycle, from form one to form three. The beginning of the first academic year marks the enrolment of the student in the academy, while the ending of the third academic year marks the graduation of the student. During their three-year enrollment in the academy, students are provided with text books for their studies, prescribed by the Ghana Education Service. The academy’s curriculum follows the normal senior high school calendar, as such, students are taught from January to December over a period of three terms, comprising a total of 40 weeks per year. The academic assessment of students is undertaken twice within a term, with students writing a mid-term examination and an end-of-term examination, which both contribute to the students cumulative assessment score.
The academy maintains a high academic standard and has over the years been ranked among the best performing senior high schools in Ghana. In 2009, the academy was listed among six other schools in the Greater Accra Region, which had 60% or more of its candidates qualifying for tertiary education. In a survey, the academy was listed among secondary schools in Ghana that contribute 50% or more of its students to universities.
The academy is one of 34 schools in Ghana established before Ghana attained its independence from Britain. From among these 34 schools, the academy is one of 20 schools recognised by the Ghana Education service as a category A school, based on the number and type of facilities that the school maintains. Some of these facilities include: an assembly hall, a basketball court, a boarding house, a bookshop, a cafeteria, a clinic, a guidance and counselling centre, a dining hall, a football park, a gymnasium, an interact square, an information and communications technology centre, a library, a physics laboratory, a chemistry laboratory, a biology laboratory, a science resource centre, staff bungalows, a lecture theatre, an administration block, a business classroom block, a general arts classroom block, a general science classroom block, a visual arts classroom block and a volleyball court.
Hall of residence
The academy has eight halls of residence. The first four of these halls were inaugurated as part of the school’s 1967 Annual Speech and Prize Giving Day activities. Among them three are named after one founding father of the school, with the exception of Dr. Kofi Konuah, while the fourth is named after Mrs. Ellen Buckle. They are as follows; Alema, Awuletey, Ellen, Halm Addo. The remaining four halls were inaugurated as part of the school’s 83rd Founders’ Day Celebration in 2014. They are named after the following prominent alumni; Nana Akuako Sarpong, Rt. Hon. Peter Ala Adjetey (a.k.a. Nana Otoafom Bekoe), Nana Wereko Ampem II, Nana Awuah Darko Ampem.
Each hall is supervised by a hall-master while a senior hall-master serves as a liaison between all four halls of residence. Hall-prefects assist hall-masters in the performance of their official duties and have a general responsibility to maintain order in their halls.
Hall-masters are not resident in the halls they supervise but rather housed in staff bungalows on the school’s premises, on the other hand, hall-prefects reside in the halls in which they exercise jurisdiction. Each hall of residence contains a bedroom, storage room, ironing room, prefects’ cubicle and a washroom.
Each academic year, the administrators of the academy organise athletics competitions between the members of the four Halls of Residence as a way of building up rapport among students. These inter-Hall athletic competitions also serve as an avenue for the academy’s sports trainers to select students with outstanding sports qualities who are can represent the academy in external sports competitions. The school’s first halls of residence are as follows while the remaining halls .
Regulations and sanctions
The Accra Academy maintains strict rules on discipline. A student undertaking a mild punishment is asked to carry out cleaning, scrubbing, sweeping, weeding or disposing of refuse. A student who commits a grievous school offence is made to proceed on an indefinite suspension or is dismissed from the academy, a notable example of which is the dismissal of Chuckie Taylor, the son of the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, on grounds of possessing drugs and weapons.
Associations and clubs
Academy students are involved in Extracurricular activities through their membership in school associations and clubs, some of which include:
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (Youth wing).
Ghana Nation Association of Business Students [GNABS] Ghana United Nations Students and Youth Association (GUNSA).
Global Teenager Project (Ghana).
Head of State Award Scheme
HIV/AIDS Kickers Youth club.
Junior Achievement Club.
Students Representation Council – S R C
Students World Assembly
The Earth and Wildlife Club
As early as 1934, the academy’s administrators hired a sports-master to organise the sporting activities of the academy. Students were trained in athletics, soccer and hockey. The academy won the Aggrey Shield together with seven other trophies in the annual inter-college athletics competition held in 1950, and through which the academy became recognised in Ghanaian inter-college sports, while the words “Accra Aca, Bleoo” came to also serve as a slogan for the school.
The academy’s administrators organise annual events for the students and alumni of the school, including a speech and prize=giving day ceremony, a Founders’ Day Lecture and a Home-coming Reunion.
Speech and prize-giving day ceremony
The annual speech and prize-giving day ceremony award the school’s best students. Occasionally retired as well as active teachers and staff of the academy are awarded for their contributions to the school.
Founders’ Day lecture
The Konuah-Halm-Addo-Awuletey-Alema Memorial Lectures was instituted in 1991 by Vincent Freeman, then academy headmaster, as part of the school’s 60th-anniversary celebrations. The Founders’ Day Lectures have been held every year since 1991.
The annual home-coming reunion is organised to foster interaction among alumni of the academy and between alumni and students enrolled in the school. Home-coming reunions are usually organised as part of the academy’s anniversary celebrations. They are usually characterized by bonding activities that include the singing of popular school songs called Jamas and the playing of table tennis, football and snooker
Headmasters of the Accra Academy
Headmaster Tenure of office
Dr. Kofi George Konuah, C.B.E,G.M,(first and only principal) 1931 to 1952
Mr. Allotei Kobina Konuah (first headmaster) 1952 to 1967
Mr. Jacob Korley Okine 1967 to 1986
Mr. Vincent Birch Freeman 1986 to 1996
Mrs. Beatrice Abla Lokko (first headmistress) 1996 to 2005
Mr. Samuel Ofori-Adjei 2005 to 2017
Rev.William Foli Garr 2017 to present
The academy’s first headmaster, Dr Kofi George Konuah, an educationist, once served as deputy to Nii Kwabena Bonne, then Osu Alata Mantse, on Nii Bonne’s Anti-Inflation Campaign Committee, which was set up to demand a reduction in the prices of foreign goods in the country at the time. Dr Konuah served as Headmaster of the Academy for 21 years and is currently the longest-serving headmaster of the school.
Mr. Allotei Kobina Konuah took over from his brother, Dr. Kofi George Konuah, as Headmaster and served for 15 years. It was during the stewardship of Allotei Konuah that the academy relocated to its present site at Bubuashie from James Town. Allotei Konuah had previously taught in the academy before assuming the headmaster position and was also one of the 19 students who enrolled in the school when it was established in 1931; furthermore, under the Chairmanship of Allotei Konuah, the education review committee set up in 1971 by Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia, then Prime Minister of Ghana, proposed in its report that the O-level and A-level educational system modelled after the British educational system be replaced by a Junior Secondary School and Senior Secondary School educational system respectively.
Mr. Jacob Okine took over from Mr. Allotei Konuah as Headmaster and served in that capacity for 19 years. Jacob Okine was a former student of the school and like Allotei Kobina had previously taught in the academy before assuming the position of Headmaster. Mr. Vincent Birch Freeman took over from Mr. Okine and served as Headmaster for 10 years after having served as Headmaster of the then Ebenezer Senior Secondary School, now Ebenezer Senior High School, for 12 years.
Beatrice Abla Lokko took over from Mr. Freeman as headmistress in 1996, making her the first woman to head a boys school in the whole of Africa. She is also the first principal of the academy who is not a former student of the school. Lokko taught English language and literature in the academy prior to her appointment as assistant headmistress to Freeman in 1990. Lokko had been part of the teaching staff of the school for 13 years prior to her appointment as headmistress, and she served an additional 9 years as the headmistress of the school. Lokko is the shortest-serving principal of the academy and one of its longest-serving staff, having been employed by the academy for 22 years.
Samuel Ofori-Adjei was appointed to the position of Headmaster in 2005. He is the headmaster of the academy and the second person who is not a former student of the school to be appointed as its headmaster. Ofori-Adjei served as the president of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) in Ghana, Vice President and later President of the African Confederation of Principals and is the chairman of the Board of trustees of the Teachers Fund .
Rev.William Foli Garr took over from Mr. Samuel Ofori-Adjei in 2017.
The Alice R. O’Grady Scholarship Award
This award was instituted in 2007 by the 1974 year group of the academy, to encourage students studying science to pursue science related careers. Beneficiaries of the award have their boarding and tuition fees fully paid for them annually so long as they maintain an above-average overall academic performance.
The institution of the Alice R. O’Grady Scholarship Award was inspired by Miss Alice R. O’Grady, a former science teacher, who taught in the academy from 1968 to 1972, having come to Ghana as a member of a group of Peace Corps Volunteers from the United States. O’Grady’s teaching ability motivated most of the students she taught in the academy to take science more seriously and to pursue science=related careers. Her former students having attained remarkable accomplishments in field of science, instituted the award as a way of honouring her. The purpose of the award is stated as follows:
In recognition of her invaluable service to Accra Academy,
the Alice R. O’Grady Scholarship Award will aim to assist brilliant but financially needy students
who wish to pursue Science or a science-oriented career in future to realize their dreams.
Old Boys Association
The association functions as an old boys network which is opened to any person who has been enrolled in the academy for more than one year.
The association has a governing body consisting of: a president, secretary, treasurer and a public relations officer elected at an annual general meeting for a fixed tenure of office. They form the executive committee of the association and have the responsibility of planning and executing all programmes or events that are organised by the association. The association is operated from a national secretariat, which doubles as the association’s headquarters in Accra. It is located on the premises of the school and is responsible for coordinating the activities of all year groups and regional secretariats of the association. It also serves as a liaison between alumni and the school.
ACASMA (Accra Academy and St. Mary’s Alliance)
ACASMA is a non-governmental organization formed by the Accra Academy and the St. Mary’s Senior Secondary School, now St. Mary’s Senior High School. Prior to this collaboration, the Accra Academy was affiliated to the Aburi Girls Senior Secondary School and later to the Accra Girls Senior Secondary School while the St. Mary’s Senior Secondary School was affiliated to the St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High School.
There was a nationwide teachers strike in the 1970s and some Accra Academy students who were capable of learning the school curricula on their own offered lessons free of charge to their colleagues in Accra Academy and St. Mary’s Senior Secondary School. The goodwill demonstrated by these students from the Accra Academy won the admiration of staff and students of the St. Mary’s Senior Secondary School and resulted in the formation of the alliance to foster stronger ties between both secondary educational institutions. The group’s slogan is: A mark of intellectual friendship; however, it formerly used to be: obaaworbleoo.
ACASMA is not presently set up at the national level and as such the highest recognised set up of the group is at the tertiary level. Some tertiary institutions in which the group has been formed and has an active membership include the University of Ghana, the University of Cape Coast, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Lodge Accra Academy
The Accra Academy Lodge is a Masonic lodge managed by alumni who are Freemasons in the Grand Lodge of Ghana or the Grand Lodge of Scotland. The lodge is not part of the school’s administration and as such has its own management and premises. Membership in the lodge is open only to alumni. Members occasionally support the school with financial assistance.
Chartered by Status of Lodge Accra Academy Lodge number Date of foundation
Grand Lodge of Ghana Provincial Grand Lodge 63.
Grand Lodge of Scotland District Grand Lodge of Ghana 1699. August 7, 1975
Main article: 80th Anniversary of Accra Academy
The academy’s 2011 80th-anniversary celebrations were organized by a 24-member anniversary planning committee inaugurated in September 2010 under the chairmanship of Vincent Freeman. The activities outlined for the celebrations spanned eight months from March to November. The programs that were organised, were a speech and prize-giving ceremony, an induction of final-year students of the academy into the Accra Academy old boys’ association, a cleaning campaign at Kaneshie Polyclinic, games between old boys and media personnel, a health-screening exercise, a homecoming and float through the principal streets of Accra, a Founders’ Day commemoration and oration day, a founders’ memorial lecture, an awards night and dinner dance, a night with bleoo musicians and a thanksgiving service that brought the year-long festivities to an end.
Paul Yaw Boateng,Baron Boateng, Rt Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho, Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan
An alumnus of the Accra Academy is referred to as an Accra Aca Old Boy. Even though the academy was established as a boys’ school, it admitted girls into the Sixth Form, beginning with the first batch of 100 girls for the 1990/91 academic year. Some notable alumni of the academy are as follows:
Head of State: Lt. Gen. Joseph Arthur Ankrah
Chief Justices: His Lordship Justice Samuel Azu Crabbe, His Lordship Justice Fred Kwasi Apaloo, His Lordship Justice Edward Kwame Wiredu Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen (Nigeria),
Supreme Court Judges: Justice George Commey Mills-Odoi, Justice Nicholas Yaw Boafo Adade, Justice Vincent Cyril Richard Arthur Charles (V.C.R.A.C) Crabbe,Justice George Lamptey, Justice Jones Victor Mawulorm Dotse
Speakers of Parliament: Rt. Hon. Daniel Francis Annan, Rt. Hon. Peter Ala Adjetey, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho
Attorney Generals: Justice George Commey Mills-Odoi, Justice Nicholas Yaw Boafo Adade, Justice Gustav Koranteng-Addow Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu
Traditional Rulers: Nana Akuoko Sarpong, Neeyi Ghartey, Lord Paul Yaw Boateng, Emmanuel Noi Omaboe (Nana Wereko Ampem II),Nana Awuah Darko Ampem, Nii Kotey Amon III,[ Nana Nkuah Okomdom II (Samuel Appiah)
Ministers of State; Dr. Ebenezer Ako Adjei,Hon.Harry Sawyerr, Mr. Nathan Quao, Mr.Haruna Esseku,Mrs.Betty Mould-Iddris