Memorial Day is a day set aside to celebrate and commemorate the birthday of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President. Dr. Nkrumah was first appointed as a prime minister and later elected as the first president in 1957 having led Ghana –then the Gold Coast– to independence. He was a staunch Pan-Africanist who believed strongly in the unification of African nations. Although it is not exactly known when he was born, based on historical events, he is believed to have been born on 21st September 1909.
Dr. Nkrumah made tremendous contributions to the development of education during his short stay in power. He was instrumental in securing funds for building educational infrastructure across the county. One of his many goals was to bridge the educational gap between southern and northern Ghana. In 1967, he initiated an act of Parliament that brought about free and compulsory basic education. His aim – to achieve free universal primary education for all.
He established The Ghana National College on Tuesday, July 20, 1940, in Cape Coast. He continued to expand the frontier of education by establishing The Ghana Education Trust. This Trust provided funding for building secondary schools, training colleges and higher educational institutes. Money from the Trust was used to also establish Mfantsiman Secondary School, Ofori Panyin Secondary School, Techiman Secondary School, the Winneba Secondary School, Swedru Secondary School, Apam Secondary School, Dormaa Secondary School, Tema Secondary School, Oda Secondary School, and the Labone Secondary School.
A timeline of some of his educational achievements
Furthermore, he played an instrumental role in the establishment of sixteen (16) Teachers Training Colleges such as the Atebubu Training College, Berekum Training College, Fosu Training College and the Enchi Training College. He also helped to established the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in 1962. The initial purpose for establishing UCC was to help train teachers for training colleges, secondary schools, and technical institutions.
In addition, he established the Kwame Nkrumah University for Science and Technology (KNUST), the Kwadaso College of Education in 1952, and the School of Languages, Ajumako. In conclusion, Dr. Nkrumah helped to lay the foundation upon which our very educational.