Presbyterian Training College

The Presbyterian College of Education, Akropong, is a co-educational teacher-training college in Akropong in the Akwapim district of the Eastern Region of Ghana. It has gone through a series of previous names, including the Presbyterian Training College, the Scottish Mission Teacher Training College, and the Basel Mission Seminary.

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The first institution of higher education in Ghana, it was founded by the Basel Mission as the Basel Mission Seminary on 3 July 1848 to train teacher-catechists for the eventual Presbyterian Church of the Gold Coast.[1][2] The college is the second oldest higher educational institution in early modern West Africa after Sierra Leone’s Fourah Bay College, founded in 1827.[1] It is affiliated to the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.[1][3][4][5] The idea to establish the college was motivated by the ideals of 18th century Württemberg Pietism inspired by German theologians Philipp Spenern and August Hermann Francke.[1] These ideals emphasised a combination of spirituality with transformation of life through the practicality of Christian teachings.[1] This feature distinguished the Basel Mission from Anglican and Methodist missionary societies such as the Church Missionary Society, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Wesleyan Methodist Mission Society which were more doctrinal in their approach to evangelism.

The first principal of the college was the Basel missionary, the Rev. Johannes Christian Dieterle. A similar teacher-catechist seminary at Christiansborg, started by the German missionary and philologist, Johannes Zimmermann in 1852, was eventually merged into the Akropong college years later in 1856 to become a single entity.[7][6] In 1864, the Basel missionary and builder, Fritz Ramseyer, who became a captive of the Asante between 1869 and 1874 and pioneered mission work in the Ashanti territories, arrived on the Gold Coast for the first time to assist the mission in its structural work, completing the construction of the seminary buildings at Akropong.

According to the British historian of missions, Andrew Walls, the catechist-teacher education model adopted by the Basel Mission, was an innovation of the Church Missionary Society pioneered by the Anglican vicar, Henry Venn “as a sort of lower, unordained missionary” – “a subaltern role to facilitate the spread of the Gospel.” [2] The original curriculum included a five-year course in the methods in pedagogy, education, theology and Christian catechism. In popular culture, the school is dubbed, the Mother of our Schools.[1] It was the only teacher-training college on the Gold Coast for more than half-a-century producing educators for the needs of the community and the Presbyterian Church.[3][4][5] The college now offers diplomas and degrees in education, pedagogy and related subjects. The college participated in the DFID-funded Transforming Teacher Education and Learning programme, Ghana (T-TEL) programme.[11][12] It is one of the about 40 public colleges of education in Ghana.[11][13]