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BACKGROUND:

ST. PAUL TECHNICAL SCHOOL (SPATS) is located in Kukurantumi – Akim under Kibi District in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The terrain is semi plain boarded by the mountains of Begoro in the Fanteakwa district with a distance of about 120 kms. North East of Accra, the capital of Ghana. There are around fifteen thousand (15000) people as inhabitants of the place. With this population, there are 13 religious denominations of the area. There are 15 first cycle schools; 2 Senior Secondary Schools; 1 big Technical School, few small private vocational-technical institutes. The occupations of the people are varied, namely, subsistent farming, small scale trading; teaching, hairdressing, tailoring, carpentry, masonry, and auto mechanic fitting.

HISTORY:

St. Paul Technical School was established in 1957 by the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) - a religious society in the catholic church founded by St. Arnold Janssen, a German Priest and co-founded by St. Joseph Freinademetz, first SVD missionary to China - It all started with the implementation of the proclamation of the Divine Word through total human development. This therefore included SVDs involvement in teaching technical skills. And for our case, teaching technical skills in Kukurantumi in order to cater the needs of the youth of Kukurantumi and eventually the needs of the youth Ghana at large.

It is good to note that SPATS was the first Catholic Technical School in Ghana. Its aim and purpose was to train youth through Christian, moral education and technical skills in order to gain employment as well as to become factors of development of the Nation. Those days’ good technicians were very scarce and employment was difficult.

Credit should go to our founding generations. There were many personnel involved in the establishment which we can name some later as far as we can remember (see page Highlights), but the first big Four are prominent. The first goes to our retired Bishop Joseph O. Bowers, SVD. He was the Bishop of Accra. As Bishop, big part of his duty was the development of his Diocese in education. Having seen that Kukurantumi was conducive place for Technical School, he followed-up the plan of his predecessor Bishop Adolph Noser, SVD. This means, to take Fr. John Harpel, SVD for Kukurantumi. Because, during that time Bishop Noser had to go for a new mission assignment in Papua New Genea. Note: It was Bishop Noser who sent Fr. Harpel to study City and Guild in Carpentry and Joinery in London with the hope that when he comes back he would be equipped to establish a technical school in Kukurantumi.

The second man in line of course was Fr. John Harpel, SVD a pastor, an educator and a carpenter. He was the first principal of the school. He work religiously to build a strong foundation of the establishment.

The third was the late Kukurantumi chief and Adontehene of Akyem Abuakwa Nana Kwabena Kena II. He generously released the land for the mission. And in addition, he also mobilized his people to prepare the land for school through communal labour.

The fourth one was Fr. Josef Sprehe, SVD a pastor, an educator and technician. He worked hard to keep up the good name of SPATS. He succeeded Fr. Harpel with a touch of cordiality, discipline and excellence.

Humble Beginning:

Rev. Fr. Harpel started the school with eighteen (18) students under the shelter of a deserted cocoa shed which he used as a classroom. The course offered was Block laying and Concreting which he later incorporated with Carpentry. There were no workshops for practical work but the students did their practical work with a private contractor who was by then building the Catholic Mission House. Fr. Harpel was initially assisted by a German volunteer called Mr. Schutty and four other Ghanaians. Out of the eighteen pioneers, fourteen were able to graduate in 1960 with the School Diploma.

Mission Continued:

By 1960, the first classroom, now the administration block, and the science block had been built. The classroom block was a multipurpose block . It was used partly as a classroom and partly as a workshop with only one small machine - a combined planer cum cutter.

But the following years, more courses were put in place. Late Bro. John Heckel, SVD joined the staff and established the Auto Mechanic course. Bro. Vitus Hartberger, SVD(1963) also came and founded the Electrical  Installation department. And then Bro. Hanns Fashingbauer, SVD (1968) for Mechanical Engineering section.

The 1960’s saw a rapid expansion and development. With the introduction of other courses: Auto-mechanics, Electrical Installation and Mechanical Engineering, many buildings and workshops were put up with corresponding increase in staff and student population. In 1962 the boarding house was opened with 20 students.

The school continued to award Diploma Certificates to its graduates until 1969 when it was registered with the City and Guilds of London for the final examination.

Under his policy of ‘quality but not quantity’, Fr. Harpel laid a solid foundation for high academic standards and strict discipline both in the staff and students.

In 1970 Rev. Fr. Harpel, who had worked in the school for thirteen (13) years handed over the administration to Rev. Fr. Joseph Sprehe who had started teaching in the school since 1968. Fr. Sprehe rapidly improved the infrastructure of the school making it one of the best equipped technical schools in the country. Workshops were equipped, standard classrooms and library was constructed, play fields was prepared, beautiful landscaping and other works were done. He kept strongly to the policy of quality education and did all he could to put SPATS in an enviable position of academic excellence and a school noted for high discipline.

The school remained a private mission school until 1973 when it was absorbed by the Ministry of Education into the Public Education System having a status of “Government Assisted School”.

The Challenge:

Before the school became Government Assisted one, the school nearly shut down its door for the students and staff because of financial problem. This was the time when the SVD Generalate & Mesereor had stopped their financial support to SPATS to give SPATS an opportunity to be self reliance. It was then a very tough time for Fr. Josef Sprehe, SVD. Where to get financial support in order to continue the normal running cost of the school was a big headache for him.

Opportunity:

Through good relationships with some friends, like Mr. Kwakye who was the good friend of Commissioner Mr. Nkegbe the then in charge of the Ministry of Education and Agriculture, and the Director Mr. Aggrey, who was at that time in charge of Technical Education, negotiations and applications were made.

Before the approval of the application for assistance was finalized, the Ministry of Education was asking the head of the school to hand-over all documents and deeds of the school land to the Ministry with the intention of fully taking over from the mission school. But Fr. Josef explained that the school administration was appealing the Ministry of Education not for total takeover but financial support to pay for the staff.

With the help of Fr. Sino, the then Accra Diocesan Chairman on Education Committee and again through good relationships with the Ministry of Education of Ghana, the appeal was well understood and the application was approved. So the school, though absorbed by the Government, remained a Mission School under the scheme “Government Assisted School”. In this view a good partnership between Church and Government was cordially established.

More Progress:

Financial support from the government has come. So more progress also have come. At least the salary of the teaching staff was assured in the initial stage. Then later the salary of the non-teaching staff was also considered. Even the SVD Brothers who were teaching by then also received benefits by having their teaching credentials upgraded and with the upgraded credentials also received corresponding salaries for the first time. In addition, they (the expatriate teachers) got also plane ticket (two-way) every two years for their holidays. Another feature of this time in the history of SPATS was the remarkable shift of teaching staff from the more SVD Brothers to the more laymen personnel. Like 1. Mr. Copper Alhadji a.k.a.“Sanyara” who taught science for several years and became senior House Master till his retirement(2005); 2. Mr. Michael Anyemi who taught mathematics also till his retirement(2006); 3 Mr. Amoabeng Dokyi who was Auto Mech. master for several years, and many others.

From 1979, the school started offering the Pre-Technician, Advanced and Technician Courses. The school continued following the above programme of courses until Fr. Josef Sprehe left for another mission appointment.

In 1993, after serving the school tirelessly for twenty-five (25) years, Rev. Fr. Sprehe left the school for another missionary assignment in Ghana and handed over the school to Mr. Stephen Godomey. Mr. Godomey is a layman who headed the school since Fr. Josef Sprehe left from 1993. He continued and improved the job given to him till when  SPATS celebrated 50th Anniversary (2007)under his leadership. After  Mr Godomey  was  Bro Peter Edze(SVD)who took over as the principal from 2007 to 2013. Currently  Mr Benjamin Adjabeng is the principal

Another progress the school is having currently is the opening of its door for the girls/lady students. Due to this opening the construction of the girls’ boarding house is now going on.

Conclusion:

SPATS can boast of many graduates who are now prominent men in Ghana and abroad. Many of them became heads of the important companies and schools in Ghana and outside Ghana. Many became great builders and developers. Some became religious brothers. Others became priests.

Appreciation:

As the school looks back the struggles of the founding personnel in putting SPATS as it stands now, the present staff, PTA and student body of SPATS can’t help but grateful to our founding generations and the Government Education Service of Ghana. The staff, PTA and students, therefore, are firmly resolved to continue the dreams of the founding Fathers and improve upon it especially in this very competitive and highly technical, electronic and computer era for the good of the youth in Ghana who are the future leaders of the country and the church.

Another progress the school have currently has is opening its doors for female students.Due to this new development, a new dormitory  

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HISTORY