The Ada College of Education was established in 1965 as a direct response to the Education Act of 1961 that sought to give Free Compulsory Universal Primary Education to all children of school-going age in the country. It was, indeed, one of the 35 post-middle teacher training colleges set up in that year in fulfillment of the vision of the government of the day. This policy directive precipitated the opening up of several primary and middle schools across the country to cater for the huge number of pupils that were to be enrolled. The huge increase in pupil enrollment created a huge deficit in trained man-power to fill the classrooms. Pragmatic steps, therefore, had to be taken to surmount this challenge.
Formation of the College
To address the above challenge as a matter of urgency, the government threw the challenge to communities that could provide residential and academic facilities for 180 students to be considered for the establishment of the colleges. The chiefs and the various stake-holders in education in Ada took advantage of this opportunity. Mr. J.M. T. Dosoo, an eminent educationist and musician, who was then the Vice Principal of the Presbyterian Women’s Training College at Aburi, was brought in to establish this new college. The then Presbyterian Middle Girls’ School in Ada-Foah graciously vacated its premises to make room for the new college. In his zeal and determination to make this new venture succeed, Mr. J.M.T. Dosoo, unassumingly, had to borrow pieces of furniture from the Ada Secondary School and the Presbyterian Middle Boys’ School to complement the few the college had.
Interestingly, in contrast to the current situation where students virtually struggle for admission into the colleges of education, Mr. Dosoo had to drive to every nook cranny of Dangmeland to convince middle school leavers to enroll at the college. Time, indeed, changes. Eventually, the college began the four year post-middle teacher training programme admitting its first batch of 24 students, which later rose to 80 in the course of the year, on the 26th of November, 1965. It was then a wholly male institution.
First Blow Strikes- Fresh Admissions Put on Hold
Soon after its establishment, and whilst it was still struggling to find its feet, the first republican government under Dr. Kwame Nkrumah whose vision saw the establishment of the college was toppled in a military coup d’état bringing into government a military regime under the National Liberation Council on the 24th of February, 1966. This development brought about dire repercussions on the fortunes of this infant institution. Attempts were made by the new government to close down all teacher training colleges set up under the previous regime. Admissions were put on hold for two consecutive years, hence there were no admissions for 1966 and 1967.
Initial Infrastructural Development
Imbued with fortitude, resilience, and equanimity, the attempts made by the National Liberation Council government to close down the college did not deter Mr. Dosoo but, rather, served as a catalyst for him to fulfill his mission. Notwithstanding the very limited financial resources at their disposal, Mr. Dosoo and his administration went ahead to embark on infrastructural development. As part of their austere measures, they convinced the pioneer students to form a ‘Workers’ Brigade’ of a sort which offered its skills and labour willingly to put up new structures on the campus. These structures include the Staff Common Room, the two-in-one garage, a block of four classrooms and a store, a long dormitory block with a house master’s rooms attached (Palace), the old dining cum assembly hall, and a garage attached to the first bungalow where the then Principal lived with his family. These were all built for gratis through the sweat and toil of the pioneering students. They have, indeed, contributed, in no small measure, their quota to the development of their alma mater and they deserve a lot of commendation.
Ban Lifted on Fresh Admissions
In 1968, as the National Liberation Council government prepared to hand over power to a civilian regime, the ban on admissions was lifted and the second batch of fresh men was admitted. Admissions continued under the Progress Party regime under Dr. K.A. Busia in 1969, 1970 and 1971 when, for the first time, we had a full school with a full complement of the four-year batches running. As things began to improve in the life of the college, another disaster struck. There was a military coup d’état on the 13th of January, 1972 toppling the government of the Progress Party under Dr. K.A. Busia and ushering in the National Redemption Council under General I.K. Acheampong. This was, once again, a bad omen that was to reverse the fortunes of the college.
Second Blow Strikes- Fresh Admissions Put on Hold
As the college began to gain root, it was struck by another disaster. As if the bane of the college was tied to military regimes, this new government, like the military government that preceded it, put a hold on admissions for three consecutive years and hence there were no fresh admissions for 1972, 1973 and 1974. As the batches for 1968, 1969 and 1971 passed out without any in-takes in 1972, 1973 and 1974 respectively, the imminent demise of the college became obvious. The 1971 batch was the only batch left due to pass out in 1975 for the college to eventually fold up. Fearing the worst to happen, the stake-holders not wanting the physical structures to become desolate, thought it wise to bring in the then Ada Secondary Vocational School (now Ada Technical Institute) to share structures with the remaining batch of the college and take full occupation when the final batch passed out in 1975.
As event unfolded, in the 1973/74 academic year, Mr. J.M.T. Dosoo the founding principal, moved out to take appointment as Head of Dangme Department at the School of Ghana Language at Ajumako. Mr. Desmond O. Anuforo, a Nigerian and the senior- most graduate teacher on staff, took over as the Acting Principal.
Appointment of a New Principal and Lifting of Ban on Fresh Admissions
In the 1974/75 academic year, as though by divine providence, the powers-that-be appointed a new Principal – Mr. S.T. Tetteh- for the college. Under Mr. S.T. Tetteh, the fortunes of the college changed tremendously and have continued to grow in leaps and bounds. Through his efforts, the teacher training programme was revived and a fresh batch of students was admitted in September, 1975. It was also under him that the college became a co-educational institution.
Between 1985 and 1988, being the only college with boarding facilities in the Greater Accra Region, the college served as one of the centres for the modular programme which was designed to train practicing pupil teachers during school vacations for the award of teachers’ certificate.
Changing Status of the College
In 1988, in response to the new educational reforms of 1987, the status of the college changed from the four year post-middle to three year post-secondary teacher training institution. The training of post-secondary teachers continued until in the year 2004 when the college saw another status upgrade into a diploma awarding institution.
The college has also been adopted by both the Centre of Distance Education of the University of Cape Coast and the Jackson Education Complex (affiliated to the University of Education, Winneba) as one of their distance learning centres for their respective programmes. Through this, many students who could not get onboard the regular stream have found an avenue to train as teachers.
It is gratifying to note that products of this noble institution continue to distinguish themselves quite creditably in all facets of our national life- in academia, public or civil service, in the police service, in business and in politics.
All past and current principals and their governing board/council, together with all past current members of staff must be saluted for their diverse contributions towards the development of the college to its current status.
As we celebrate the great history of our noble institution, we reckon that we cannot do same for its contemporaries established in 1965. Some collapsed along the way whilst others were converted into secondary, technical and vocational schools.