June 18, 2009

Lessons from King’s College and Achimota School’s relationship

By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
[email protected]
It is not common to see two secondary schools in the West African sub-region successfully sustaining a relationship that started about seven decades ago.

This has really been very difficult given the socio-economic and political instability that has been the lot of African couintries since the 1960’s.

However, King’s College, Lagos and Achimota School, Accra, Ghana have managed, against all odds; to maintain an unbroken relationship that started before the two countries gained independence from Britain.

On yearly basis, students from the two schools exchange visits, to attend and participate actively in sports activities of their schools. And this spirit between the two schools still endures till today.

On Monday this week, students from Achimota School arrived Nigeria to partake in the sport fiesta which is meant to mark the centenary anniversary of King’s College founded in 1909.

The three games in which students from the two schools are competing are cricket, hockey and football.

The sport fiesta alone is costing the old boys of King’s College the sum of N5 million.

Yet, the centenary celebration has been going on since January this year,  marked by series of sporting activities between the college’s team and the old boys team as well as the Nigeria cricket association team.

Also, essay competition and other social activities are part of the programmes lined up for the centenary anniversary. This means that a lot of money has gone into the celebration of 100 years of existence of King’s College.

Although, UNESCO and the Federal Ministry of Education is involved in the celebration, but the old boys of the College are bearing the lion’s share of the expenses and they are doing so very willingly, without being forced to do so.

Apart from their interest to sustain the tradition of their alma mater, the old boys said that they are giving the needed support to the success of the sport fiesta because there is the need to promote sports in schools so that the nation can excel in international competitions.

The old boys of King’s College also believe that promotion of sport activities in secondary schools is a way of developing the youths since many of them are professionals in various sporting activities all over the world.

The conduct of the old boys of the two West African Secondary Schools is, indeed, a lesson to alumni of Nigerian universities, many of whom are not keen at lending support to their alma mater which are today in very bad shape arising from inadequate funding.

King’s College was the first secondary school in Nigeria to feed students for Cambridge University Local Examinations. It was also among the first secondary schools in Nigeria to introduce French and German in the school curriculum.

Organized games were compulsory for every student except those who presented a medical certificate showing that they are physically unfit.

In the December 1937 examinations, the students of the college recorded an 88.2% success rate at the Oxford examinations, a feat hitherto unprecedented in the history of Nigerian education.

In a nutshell, the standard of education in King’s College was very high before 1980s when decay, occasioned by government neglect, set  in.