Author Archives: admin

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Amanfoɔ Selection Committee (ASC)


The Amanfoɔ Selection Committee (ASC) is the foundational decision forum for PEF.  This is a broad representative structure of Year Groups to the PEF.  It is analogous to the “parliament” where plans as discussed, prioritized and selected. The ASC structure mimics that of other effective Alumni Foundations in worldwide.

Each Year Group may elect 1-2 ASC representatives who would relay the aspirations and concerns of that year group to the PEF.  A web based electronic voting system would be used to facilitate a global democratic selection process.  Such a system has already been designed and tested by some Amanfoɔ volunteers.

The term of an ASC Member would be three years. A third of the ASC members would be rotated out each three years (like the US Senate) to ensure retention of capacity.  The ASC is expected to convene at least quarterly to deliberate on matters of the Foundation.

The ASC shall be responsible for selecting PEF officers and the Corporation Administrators.

Final plans for the school shall be approved by the ASC and rectified by the directors. Projects expenditure exceeding $10K will need assent by the ASC.

In effect the ASC is at the very heart of the democratic and open system of the PEF.  We expect all Year Groups to have active representations.

A pilot scheme is currently in progress to roll out full functionality of selecting ASC representatives.  It is highly encouraged that Year Groups who are ready to nominate and elect their ASC representatives should contact the PEF directors to initiate the process.

For more information about the operational structure of the ASC, click here.

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Ghana Donors – Giving in Cedis (GHS)


Supporters of Prempeh College in Ghana or donors who would like to contribute in the Ghanaian currency, Cedi, may do so using any one of the following options:

  1. Wire Transfer / Direct Payment using account information for PEF
  2. Use of the ECOBANK Mobile App, which may be downloaded from either the Google Play Store or Apple Store
  3. Use of the Mobile Money feature

For more information, please click here.

Web Site

  1. Ghana Donors

Supporters of Prempeh College in Ghana or donors who would like to contribute in the Ghanaian currency, Cedi, may do so using any one of the following options:

4.1       Wire Transfer / Direct Payment

Prempeh Endowment Fund
A/C No: 0150094504870701
A&C Shopping Mall Branch
Jungle Road, East Legon
PMB GPO –  Accra

4.2       ECOBANK App

Download the Ecobank Mobile Banking App



4.3       Mobile Money

For each of the above options, it is strongly recommended that you use the Memo/Description field to indicate your House and Year Group.

If you have questions about giving to the Prempeh Endowment Fund in Ghana, please call 0244844171 or email

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Director’s Corner – March 2018

Category:Director's Corner
  • We would like to congratulate Senior Kwabena Nyarko (aka Sakino, class of 1975/77, Osei Tutu house) on his election as President of the National Executive Committee (based in Accra, Ghana). The directors have met with Snr. Nyarko and are in communication with the leadership of the global Amanfoo association to ensure our objectives and priorities are aligned with respect to support of Prempeh College.  We’re looking forward to working with the new executives to support and advance the ideals of Prempeh College.
  • Following our request in the previous newsletter for recommendations and nominations of Amanfoo with the relevant skill set and experience, the following alumni have been confirmed to serve on the PEF Investment Committee (IC):
    • George Mensah
    • Henry Addison
    • Frank Tawiah
    • Hene Aku Kwapong

These seniors are profiled on

We continue to look for qualified individuals with relevant skill sets to serve in different capacities on a number of PEF committees so please forward any CVs and recommendations to

  • PEF has instituted a “mobile money” paying system with Ecobank, (Ghana) Ltd to facilitate the donation of funds to the endowment among Amanfoo residing in Ghana – see the latest newsletter for details
  • Welcome to the class of 1985/87 and 1987/89 who will be nominating their representatives to serve on the Alumni Selection Committee (ASC), the deliberative body that elects leaders and ensures alignment of priorities between Amanfoo leadership, PEF, year groups and Prempeh College – see the latest newsletter for details
  • Please contact us at if your year group would like to join and participate in ASC activities or engage PEF directors

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Investment Committee


Investment Committee

The Board of the Prempeh Endowment Fund (PEF) empowers an investment committee of four-seven members.  The Investment Committee shall have full power and authority to make decisions related to investments of the school. The committee may select and authorize the engagement of such agents, advisers, brokers, and attorneys, as it deems necessary to aid it in the proper discharge of its duties.  The investment committee has responsibility for the fund’s investment performance.  The investment committee ensures that the optimum investment result for the endowment is achieved by focusing on good governance.  The members of the committee serve a 5-year term subject to renewable for a maximum of 2 additional terms that may or may not run in succession.

The responsibilities of the Investment Committee are to:

  • determine an Asset Mix Policy in conjunction with our fund manager subject to yearly review
  • maintain the purchasing power of the Fund after payout over the long-term; the required return, at a minimum, should meet (after fees) the PEF’s Investment Payout Policy
  • earn a return premium that should at least cover the cost of management
  • review and recommend to the board investment policy and asset allocation of the endowment
  • determine risk and return objectives
  • monitor the attainment of the investment and financial objectives
  • engage in strategic thinking and long-term planning in regard to the endowment

PEF strives to work with parties who support resolutions that encourage (and oppose resolutions that inhibit) the implementation of reasonable sustainable practices and environmental and social responsibility.  The Investment Committee is tasked with ensuring that the endowment continues to be invested in a manner consistent with—and supportive of—PEF’s mission and values regarding ethical, social, and environmental issues.

Committee Members 2018 – 2023

  • George Mensah, Class of 1979/81

Senior Mensah is an experienced investor who has managed funds with assets in excess of US$1 billion.  He is currently Managing Director of Ghana Re-Insurance Corporation.  George started his professional career in 1993 with Merrill Lynch Asset Management (MLAM) as a Financial Accountant in Princeton, NJ USA. He later joined Prudential Financial in Newark, NJ as Senior Analyst within the Investment Management Research team and was responsible for ensuring that portfolio managers had the ability to achieve superior returns in both up or down markets.  Following his relocation to Ghana, George held management positions as Assistant Director in charge of Treasury and Investment at African Reinsurance Corporation and Executive Director, Head of Investments at SIC Insurance Company. He has served on several Boards including Ghana Stock Exchange, NTHC Financial Services, Afram Publications Limited and Starwin Products Limited, a pharmaceutical company in Ghana.  George holds an MBA in Finance from the Stern Business School, New York University, New York, New York, USA and a BSc in Accounting and a minor in French from Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, USA.

  •  Frank Tawiah, Class of 1980/82

Senior Tawiah has over 25 years of experience in finance and management.  He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Core Afrique Investments Limited, an investment advisory company he foundered in 2004.  Prior to that, Frank served as the managing director of Equatorial Cross Acquisitions Limited, a finance company that was influential in raising equity for the development of the corporate plaza in the Airport City enclave in Accra, Ghana.  Frank is very knowledgeable in Finance, Accounting and Taxation and has previously lectured on those subjects at GIMPA, Accra.  He has served on several corporate boards including Emerald Properties Ghana Ltd., Darlow Ghana Ltd., Capstone Capital, and Spintex Inc.  Frank is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of CFA Institute.  He holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, at York University, Toronto, Canada with specialization in Corporate Finance, Investments and Accounting and a BSc degree in Chemistry from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

  • Henry Addison, Class of 1980/82

Henry is an Advisor at the Australian Treasury, and in his current role at the Foreign Investment Review Board Secretariat, his objective is to ensure that foreign investments in Australia are in Australia’s national interest. He is very skilled in international relations and international economic law and policy, having contributed to key outcomes in a range of sensitive matters on behalf of the Australian government.

These have included being a negotiator in:

  • G20-inspired OECD Working Party meetings in Paris to develop ways to modernize the international tax system;
  • free trade agreement discussions, for example, with China, South-Korea, India, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership;
  • discussions for a possible Visiting Forces Agreement to enhance Australian-Japanese military cooperation, and
  • the intergovernmental agreement with the United States to prevent tax evasion by US nationals. He has also assisted the Government-appointed Board of Taxation in reviewing the taxation of Islamic finance instruments, collective investment vehicles, and hybrid regulatory capital.

Henry was called to the English Bar (Inner Temple) and has been admitted to the degrees of Master of Laws in Banking and Finance (Queen Mary, University of London) and Master of Commercial Law (University of Melbourne).

He lives in Canberra with his wife and two children.

  • Hene Aku Kwapong, Class of 1979/81, Chair

Senior Kwapong has extensive experience in finance and management.  He is currently a board member of Nordicom-Denmark, a real-estate investment group in Denmark and serves as a board member of Ecobank Ghana. Hene Aku has previously held management positions at Exxon Mobil Corporation, Senior Manager at Microsoft Corporation, Vice-President at GE Capital, Senior Vice President & Treasurer at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Vice-President at Deutsche Bank, and Chief Operating Officer EMEA Credit at Royal Bank of Scotland in London. Since 2014, he has been engaged in consultancy tasks in restructuring and launched The Songhai Group, a corporate development company. He serves on audit committee, risk, and governance committees in his board roles.  Hene Aku studied Chemical and Nuclear Engineering at MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.  He obtained his PhD in Non-linear Systems Dynamics from Columbia University, New York, USA and an MBA in Economics from the MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.


Statement of Investment Committee

Statement of Objectives and Policies

Responsible Investing

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​Joining Forces for Sustainable Communities

Category:Education Trends,Highlights

Janeen Judah, 2017 SPE President.

Several years ago, I was at a Texas A&M University football game in a suite sponsored by the dean of the College of Agriculture, so not my usual engineer crowd. I introduced myself around, and one of the other guests said something I still remember, “I work for the Gates Foundation. My job is to give away Bill Gates’ money.” I remember thinking what a great job! Wouldn’t everyone love to play Santa Claus with Bill Gates’ billions? Wouldn’t we all love to be able to have Bill Gates’ impact on the world as his foundation invests in global development, health initiatives, and US education? In a way, we do. Global, multinational companies often make commitments for local infrastructure as a condition to do business in host countries. These infrastructure projects often require companies to build clinics, schools, roads, and power and water supplies in areas where the local government cannot or does not provide them. Oil and service companies are not different—we often build community projects, but they don’t always last. I have traveled extensively in Africa, and in more than one country, I have seen faded USAID signs on dilapidated clinics and schools. US tax dollars set up this needed infrastructure, but the projects are not sustainable because there aren’t local agencies with the ability to run them. These development projects are part of the risk our companies take to do business in developing nations, and we all hope for a reward for the local communities with real, sustainable improvements in their lives because we were there. But these development projects don’t always work as planned. I first realized the power of oil company cooperation with local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) many years ago in Latin America. An oil field was located in a rural area about 4o km from a large city. The community had a local elementary school; but for high school, students had to travel into the big city. As a result, many local kids didn’t attend high school. Girls were especially likely to drop out because their parents were concerned about safety and traveling home often after dark. There was a real need for a high school in the village near the oil field. The operator had made a commitment to invest in the local community and had already built a health clinic, which the governmentstaffed with local doctors and nurses.

The high school was the next priority project, but there was jockeying between local politicians over who would control the funding and the school. The operations manager was a career expatriate who knew that cash handed over to the local government would evaporate. The solution: Allow nuns to run the school. In Latin America, everyone could agree on the Catholic Church as honest, professional educators. The operator built a home for six sisters, including the principal, next to the school, and they ran the school honestly and with the children in mind. 

Unfortunately, the story has a sad ending. Even with a successful partnership for several years, ultimately, the government became more unstable and failed to keep up its end of the agreement to both the clinic and the school. The health ministry stopped paying the medical staff and providing medical supplies, so the clinic closed.

 The high school had become so successful that enrollment swelled  so the nuns ran two shifts of students. Unfortunately, the government stopped paying the lay teachers, providing books and supplies, maintaining the school, and it also closed. The perfect “three-legged stool”—partnership for implementation and sustainabiliry among industry, an honest-broker NGO, and a government ministry—failed.

There is certainly a lot of activity worldwide to develop infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships (PPP). In Europe and the US, PPPs are used to finance toll roads and privatize and redevelop utilities and water works. Investors put up the money in return for a share of the improved project’s revenue stream. This is an investment, not aid. In developing nations, PPPs are often funded by wealthy nations via the World Bank or regional development banks such as the Africa Development Bank. Projects include power, transportation/ roads, telecom, water/sanitization, education, and primary health. World Bank-funded projects have been dominated by relatively low-risk countries: Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and Turkey. Oil companies often operate in far less developed countries, where the financial risk is simply too high for private investors and development banks. Yet, oil companies are usually required to include local development as a component of developmentprojects. I believe there is a great opportunity for us as an industry to partner more with governmental agencies and NGOs to make our community development projects more sustainable. What’s different about oil companies?

We often operate in far needier countries with literally no infrastructure.

1 We are committed to community investment as part of our concession or project agreements.

2 We are not interested in a revenue stream or return. We have no profit motive from the infrastructure investment; we’ll make our money from production.

We can execute the development project alongside our projects, taking advantage of our supply chain and contractors.

1 We are there to stay for the life of the field or project: 20, 30, 4o years.

Oil companies are excellent at execution. We know how to manage projects, build facilities, and drill wells. We have extensive supply chains that allow us to import goods into far-flung countries. NGOs have their special strengths with running clinics or schools, providing front-line medical care and training local staff. But they often struggle with logistics such as importing specialized material into countries and building facilities. 

Governments and ministries are often cash-short and fail to followthrough with staffing, maintenance, and consumables such as medical supplies and books. In researching this article, I encountered a whole world of governmental and academic research on sustainable development in emerging economies. For example, I suggest you read about economic history and development in the writings of Douglass C. North, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in economic sciences. Of special interest is Violence and Social Orders (2009), in which he explains two types of social orders— “natural” states and open-access or modern societies.

! Also, I met with Andrew Natsios, former administrator of USAID, and now at Texas A&M University and aworld-known expert in international development. Issues with oil company local development and government-driven development programs are strikingly similar. Natsios’ article, “Nine Principles of Reconstruction and Development’ (2005), echoes many of the main issues oil companies encounter when pursuing local development projects and helping to create sustainable communities: ~

1. Ownership. The community must “own” the project.

2. Capacity building. Transfer of technical ability to deliver. 

3• Sustainability. Design projects so their impact endures. 

4. Selectivity. Target investment where interests align. 

5• Assessment. Design for local conditions. 

6. Results. Have an objective before starting. 

7. Partnership. Collaborate with government, communities, private sector, NGOs, etc.

8. Flexibility. Adjust as needed. 9• Accountability. Design accountability and transparency into the project and guard against corruption.

.Sound familiar? Efforts to coordinate private industry, local development, and governmental agency links are out there: the Shared Value Initiative (, Business for Social Responsibility (hops://www.bsrorg/en/), and the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative (
Private industry (including oil companies) is doing more to improve on the nine principles, most especially ownership and
sustainability, so that the impact lives on. In fact, an excellent example is the “Green Revolution” of the mid-loth century, in which modern plant hybrids and agricultural methods are credited with saving the lives of a billion people from starvation around the world, chiefly in Mexico, Pakistan, and India. Norman Borlaug, i97o Nobel Peace Prize winner, is credited as the “Father of the Green Revolution:’ It’s worth a quick Internet search to learn more. Fundamentally, oil company operators and development organizations both work on a long-term, 20+ year development window. Politically motivated development can look for a quick fix, while sustainable societal change may take a generation. When oil companies enter a region, we are almost always in it for the long haul—to develop and produce along-term asset, develop local staff to run it, and improve the lives of both the immediate communities and the overall country’s economy. We all want a better world. Oil companies are already partnering with countries for the long term. Industry and governments can work together to create real, sustainable improvements in communities and countries where we operate. But, of course, we can be more successful if we have other organizations partner with us to create sustainable communities. My example of the programs in Latin America demonstrates what happens when one link in the chain fails. We can do better; we achieve greater reward when we work together fora commoncause. J PT

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Directors’ Corner

Category:Director's Corner

PEF Update

Since the announcement of the establishment of the Prempeh Endowment Fund (PEF) we have received enthusiastic support from Amanfoo all over the globe as exemplified by the write-up from the class of 80/82 (in this newsletter). Our collaboration with the National Executives has also been very fruitful and enabled the ideals captured in the PEF. We now have over 1700 alumni formally registered at However, we can confidently assume that there is a large proportion of Amanfoo who are not even aware of this initiative. We invite all Amanfoo to spread the word and encourage others to visit the website, register and learn more about PEF.

The establishment of PEF is just the first baby step in the journey towards our ultimate goal of making Prempeh College the premier institution at the secondary level of education not only in Ghana but on the continent of Africa. We are building momentum since the initial announcement but there also remains a lot of work to be done in order to accomplish that goal. We encourage all Amanfuo to donate their time as well as financial resources to support this worthy cause. Visit and make a donation today and also reach out to the Directors ( to volunteer your time.

Reverend Pearson had a dream and initiated the project that binds us today as Amanfoo; now, it is up to us to build upon what he started and take it to the next level as benefactors. If we pull our resources and row magnificently in sync we shall reach that goal sooner. Please donate today!

Retroactive Non-profit Tax-exemption Approval by the US IRS.

We would like to remind Amanfoo that PEF’s 501 (c)(3) status is retroactive to June 18, 2016. Thus, anyone who made a charitable contribution or donation to PEF prior to December 31, 2016 can make a deduction on his or her 2016 tax returns, because of the retroactive approval. If you made a donation to PEF in 2016 but haven’t yet received a receipt for your 2016 tax returns, please send a message via email to

As a reminder, any charitable contributions/donations you make to PEF will be tax-deductible. We encourage every Amanfuo to take advantage of this tax-exempt status and contribute/donate generously to the fund. Please visit and donate today!

Townhall Meetings

We are currently engaging year groups in townhall meetings to take questions and discuss the goals, status and future activities of PEF. In the past month, we engaged the classes of 80/82 and 81/83 in what can only be described as lively and very fruitful discussions. If your year group or local Amanfoo association would like to engage PEF directors in an informal discussion (via either a teleconference, a chatroom or on a platform forum such as Whatsapp) please send  an email to to schedule the event.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Category:Alumni Highlights

Q1.        What is an Endowment Fund and Why Do We Need One for Prempeh?

A1.       First, let’s start with what an endowment fund is not. An endowment fund is not just a bank account with folks contributing money to be used to fix the school’s problems. An endowment fund is set up with both the governance and legal framework that allows the school to adopt a best practice for giving through which it can raise funds and have constant annual flow of funds to address emerging challenges in a sustainable manner.  The goal is to give the school a responsible, accountable tool to invest in educational programs and infrastructure.  The Prempeh Endowment Fund (PEF) has been set up with the legal requirement to solely benefit Prempeh College.

Q2.      How many endowment funds for the school are in existence at the moment?

A2.       Besides the PEF, we are not aware of any formally registered endowment fund(s) in existence today with the legal construct as discussed above in response to Q1.

Q3.      Is the PEF owned by or belongs to the Class of ‘79?

A3.       No. There is no concept of individual ownership of the PEF and it certainly does not belong to the Class of 79.  The PEF is an independent corporate entity established for all Amanfoo and operates as such under US laws. While the interest to establish an endowment fund has been an abstraction of many, a few committed individuals from that class, with relevant experience in such matters, spearheaded the formation of the PEF.

Q4.      Why was the PEF set up as a fully independent corporate entity?

A4.      After consulting with several educational funds, obtaining input from anticipated donors, and upon seeking legal advice, it became absolutely apparent that the endowment fund be legally separated from any association or membership organization in order to protect the fund from reputational, regulatory and other risks that may emanate from the operation of an association or may be associated with an individual outside of its scope.

Q5.      What does PEF work on behalf of the school?

A5.      The PEF requires the creation of a School Plan that includes a set of annual and multi-year plans to guide how we collectively fund the school’s priorities on top of what the government provides.

Q6.      Is the PEF fully operational with a complete structure and plan for Amanfoo to get to work?  In other words, can we be doing anything in the interim?

A6.       While a great deal has been accomplished there remains a lot of work to do in order to get the PEF to the desired state.  There is a lot that can be done in the interim. Since all the work is being done on voluntary basis, any Amanfoo or year group is more than welcome to assist by contacting the directors of PEF at

Q7.      Is the Fund limited only to Amanfoo in North America?

A7.       No, there is no concept of limiting the fund to Amanfoo in North America or any one geographical area for that matter.  Anyone, anywhere, who wants to donate to the fund is welcome to do so; we currently have donors from the US, UK and Ghana who have all given directly to the Endowment.  The Endowment operates and is managed in the US where the laws governing educational funds are strong.  The universal nature of the EF does not introduce any additional level of complexity.  Anybody giving to the fund does not alter the intent of the fund or how the fund operates.

Q8.      What role, if any, are the various Amanfoo Associations around the world expected to play?

A8.       It is expected that all Amanfoo will work together to build up the size of the fund pool.  The Amanfoo associations should be the forums for engaging alumni in all fund-raising activities.  Thus, they become partner organizations to the PEF in order to execute on the school’s 1-year, medium and long term plans.

Q9.      What is a 1-year plan for Prempeh College?

A9.       The 1-year plan is nothing but the operating budget for the school year that captures the maintenance and the set of prioritized projects to be completed for the school year. This is a plan for the full year’s expenditures and sources of funds

Q10.    In what ways can one invest or make a donation towards the mission of the School?

A10.     One can definitely contribute their time to assist in putting together all the necessary structures to enable the desired state of the PEF.  In addition, Amanfoo can make financial contributions to the fund.  There are 4 contribution types:

1) Unrestricted donation — Allows the Fund to allocate funds where the need is greatest

2) Committed donation — Donate to the Fund towards a specific and defined prioritized project

3) Benefactor — A benefactor can stipulate in their will and bequeath assets to the Fund

4) Partner donors — External funds solicited from other private foundations

Q11     Will the fund be professionally managed at some point?

A11.     Presently, the fund is professionally managed by Fidelity Investments, Inc.  A first draft of an investment committee is being discussed now.  Amanfoo with the required statutory background experience in line with the fund governance are invited to participate.  This committee interfaces with the fund manager.  Express your interest to serve by contacting the directors (

Q12.    Are year groups supposed to fund these short, medium and long term projects through contributions to a specific fund under the PEF?

A12.     Not quite.  The school plan will have short, medium and long-term plans. Each of those plans will have activities and projects in them.  The PEF then goes out and raises funds for them.  If a new source of funding comes in the form of a class fund, then the PEF works with that source to make sure there is a fit.  For example, let’s say there is a donation that is committed to a specific project from a year group.  The year group can then decide to set up the Class Fund and when they are ready, fund the project. They may choose to do a medium term or long term project.

Q13.    Will the fund be housed in Ghana or in the US?

A13.     Funds raised in GHS will be domiciled in Ghana; funds raised in other currencies will be invested with Fidelity Investments, Inc. in the USA.

Q14.    Why is it registered as an NGO in Ghana or is it because it is a special purpose Fund?

A14.     This was done for tax reasons and also to simplify interactions with external educational donors

Q15.    Will Fidelity Investments, Inc. employ a local fund manager to invest the Ghana domiciled funds in local instruments?

A15.     The PEF has had that discussion with Fidelity Investment. The advice we received was to focus GH domiciled funds on short-term projects and immediate needs of the school.  PEF is working with Ecobank of Ghana to take on the responsibility of investing funds locally.


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ONE FUND, ONE MISSION – A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lay a solid foundation


Members of the 80/82 year group have been guided by this maxim from the Good Book, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” We are ever mindful of the debt of gratitude we owe Prempeh College for the invaluable life lessons inculcated in us during our formative years there. Lessons that have shaped and molded us into people we have now become.

We were trained academically and spiritually in an atmosphere which enabled us to form life-long friendships – friendships which have formally coalesced into the 80/82 year Group. Our goals among others is to be each other’s keeper and also to pull our resources together to assist in alleviating some of the numerous infrastructural and logistical problems bedeviling our alma mater.

It’s in the pursuance of the latter goal that our year group in commemoration of our 30th anniversary of admission to Prempeh undertook several activities to benefit our school in 2005. To help address the chronic water shortage on campus we donated eleven poly-tanks (one for each house and the remaining two to the administration). We also organized a formal event to honor the foremost Amanfuor of the day, the-then sitting President of the Republic of Ghana, HE John Agyekum Kufuor and his chief-of-staff, Mr. Kwame Mpianim, also an Amanfuor. We honored outstanding staff with awards. We then held a dinner for all staff and faculty as well as the student body.

We were in the process of purchasing several toilet seats in 2016 for the school when we got word that another year group had already committed to doing the same and were far advanced in their preparation than we were. We therefore gave up on that project to re-think our next step.

It was in the midst of deliberating on what we could do next for our school that we got word about the Prempeh Endowment Fund (PEF). After “meeting” with Senior Kwapong on our WhatsApp platform, he was able to fill us in on the origins of the PEF, its goals and objectives, management structure and the lasting benefit it could serve our alma mater. He was gracious enough to answer our questions and shed light on how the PEF would operate.

Needless to say, the general consensus after the “meeting” was that the PEF is well thought out and deserves our serious attention and consideration. As stakeholders in the future of our alma mater we saw the PEF as providing a long-term solution to the present norm of assisting our school on ad-hoc basis. While not being critical of our past efforts, those efforts can at best be described as haphazard, uncoordinated, duplication of efforts leading to excessive attention to some areas while others were neglected. This band-aid approach was not adequate in seriously tackling the myriad of problems facing our institution. We needed change and a new approach.

The PEF offers us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lay a solid foundation upon which we can erect the edifice of securely-structured, well-coordinated, systematic and reliable source of assistance for our school. The fund which will be professionally managed will bring transparency and accountability to endowment process. It will also tap into a wider network of donors thereby broadening our donor base beyond alumni.

There is no doubt that there might still be a few kinks to work out such as ensuring that resources sent to the school will be used for the assigned purpose, accountability at the implementation level, etc. but we are on board in using the PEF as a vehicle to contribute our quota to Prempeh’s betterment and future development.

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How to Turn Around a Failing School

Category:Alumni Highlights

To say that school reforms are a contested area is something of an understatement. There are some strongly held opinions in education about what improves a school, such as raising teaching standards and reducing class sizes.

Our findings challenge some of these beliefs. To understand how to turn around a failing school quickly, using as few resources as possible, we studied changes made by 160 UK academies after they were put into remedial measures by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) up to seven years ago. (In the UK, an academy is a publicly funded school or group of schools. One school can acquire others to form a group, which shares resources, making investment easier and cuts less painful. Academies have devolved decision-making powers, bypassing local government.)

This provided us with the rare opportunity to look at a large number of organizations which all:

  • Are regulated, documented, and measured in the same way
  • Provide a similar service
  • Have made similar changes

However, each academy:

  • Made these changes in a different order
  • Operated in regions with different levels of competition and access to resources

This is research gold, as it’s possible to isolate variables and understand the impact of changing them. For example, we were able to say 30 academies made X change, while 40 didn’t, and then draw conclusions from the differing outcomes. We could analyze the effects of 58 types of investment, on 18 performance measures over time, in 160 academies operating in 18 different regions. We were given full access to the academies’ management information systems, leaders, staff and students so we could see how they worked, the decisions they’d made and the impact they’d had.

So what did we find? Like any turnaround, there is no magic bullet — a series of remedial steps need to be taken. And each step’s impact depends and builds on the previous steps in the sequence, as well the school’s location, because the latter determines access to good leaders, teachers, and students.

Here are recommendations based on the effective (and ineffective) practices we uncovered:

Don’t improve teaching first. This was a very common mistake. Many schools tried to improve teaching while still struggling with badly behaving students, operating across a number of sites or having a poor head of school in charge. You can’t expect teachers to sort out all the problems themselves — you need to create the right environment first.

Do improve governance, leadership, and structures first. Otherwise, you’re putting great teachers in a position where they fail — they’ll waste time doing or managing the wrong things.

Don’t reduce class sizes. While reducing class size works, it is not the best use of resources. It is expensive and you can create the same impact by improving student motivation and behavior, which takes fewer resources. We found class sizes of 30 performed as well as class sizes of 15, when standards of student behavior had been addressed first.

Do improve student behavior and motivation. The best way to create the right environment for good teachers is to improve student behavior and motivation. Controversially, we found that the fastest way to do this is to exclude poorly behaved students: Pay other schools to teach them or, as most academies did, build a new, smaller school for these students. However, while this “quick win” produced immediate results, it was not the best long-term solution (and indeed, it’s probably not the best solution for society either). The better, more sustainable practice was to move poorly behaved students into another pathway within the existing school, so that they can be managed differently and reintegrated into the main pathway once their behavior has improved.

Don’t use a “zero tolerance” policy. Many schools tried to come down hard on poor behavior with a “zero tolerance” policy. However, the short term, positive impact didn’t last and in some cases, students revolted and even rioted.

Do create an “all through” school. Keep students from the age of five until they leave at ages 16 or 18. In this way, school leaders can create the right culture early on and ensure that poor behaviors never develop. It also makes teaching at secondary school level (age 11 up) much easier, as you don’t have to integrate older students with different views about standards.

Don’t use a super head. Many academies parachuted in a “super head” from a successful school to turn themselves around. Although this had a positive short-term impact, it didn’t create the right foundations for sustainable long-term improvement. These “super heads” tended to be involved only for one to two years and focused their changes on the school year (ages 15–16) and subjects (mathematics and english) used to assess performance, so they could make quick improvements, take the credit, and move on.

In every case, exam results dipped after the “super head” left and only started improving three years later. The new head spent up to $2 million cleaning up the mess created by diverting attention, resources, and teaching capability from other age groups and subjects.

Do improve all year groups. Although schools can improve short-term performance by cutting and reallocating resources, they will not create sustainable improvement unless they invest in all age groups and subjects.

Don’t expect inner city schools to be more difficult. Another common view is that it is more difficult to turn around an inner city school. However, we found it is easier, as they have greater access to good leaders, teachers, and students.

Do invest more in rural and coastal schools. It is more difficult to attract good leaders, teachers and students in rural and coastal areas. Improvement was much slower in these regions.


Don’t expect spending more money to solve your school’s problems any faster… More resources can help to overcome specific challenges, such as attracting good leaders and teachers, but at least in these 160 British academies, what mattered most to the overall speed of improvement was making the right changes in the right order. 

…But, at the same time, don’t expect to improve without spending more, at least in the short term. To improve student learning, schools must have the basic resources they need to improve student behavior, pay higher salaries to attract good teachers, and employ staff to manage parents so teachers can spend more time teaching and leaders can spend more time leading. Expect financial performance to dip in the short-term. Pursuing financial performance over operational performance will not serve students well in the long term. 

There are three key learnings from this research. First, you need to create the right environment before improving teaching standards. Great teaching is wasted without the right governance, leadership, and structures, with well-behaved students.

Second, the most significant improvement occurred when schools changed their students by excluding poor behavior, creating multiple pathways for students with differing needs and creating a school for ages five through 16–18. This change consistently improved performance more than any other.

Third, you have to plan for a dip in financial performance before your exam results will improve. You either need to part of a larger group (such as a multiacademy trust) with access to the resources you need to get through this dip. Or, acquire another school early on in your journey to increase your revenue and spread your costs across a larger number of students. 

Alex Hill is a Co-Founder and Director of The Centre for High Performance, an Associate Professor at the University of Kingston and a Visiting Professor at a number of universities around the world. He previously worked at the University of Oxford and spent ten years in various divisions of the Smiths Group, a large engineering multinational. Twitter: @cfhperformance

Liz Mellon is the Founder and Chair of the Editorial Board for the Duke Corporate Education journal, Dialogue. She was previously the Indian Regional Managing Director at Duke CE, a Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School and spent twelve years in the Department of Trade and Industry. Twitter: @lizmellonduke

Jules Goddard is a Fellow of London Business School and formerly Gresham Professor of Commerce at City University.

Ben Laker is a Co-Founder and Director of The Centre for High Performance, a Lecturer at Kingston University and a Visiting Professor at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy. He previously spent ten years as a turnaround consultant.

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Doing Great Work In the G20 – Henry Addison ’80/82

Category:Class Notes

There are lots of Amanfoo doing great work in the service of not only Ghana, but also to the world at large.  One of the finest is Mr Henry Addison of the 80/82 year group, Aggrey House.

Henry trained as a Barrister in England and also holds a Masters Degree in Commercial Law from the University of Melbourne, Australia.  Henry is currently a corporate and international taxation adviser to the Australian government. He has represented Australia at OECD meetings in Paris in relation to the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project aimed at preventing multinationals from avoiding or deferring taxes.

He negotiated key Australian free trade agreements, amongst them the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).  He has also conducted national interest assessments for Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board in relation to inbound investment proposals to acquire Australian assets.

Henry currently resides in Canberra, Australia with his family.


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