College History

This page presents to you the history of St. Joseph's College of Education

You can also find our mission statements here

Our History

“For her part Holy Mother Church, in order to fulfill the mandate she received from her divine founder to announce the mystery of salvation to all men and to renew all things in Christ, is under an obligation to promote the welfare of the whole life of man, including his life in this world insofar as it is related to his heavenly vocation; she has therefore a part to play in the development and extension of education.” (Declaration of Christian Education, Vatican II, Gravissimum Educationis, 1965, para. 2).

It is to fulfill, among others, this mandate that the Church even before this declaration has been involved in education and other social works

In 1948 through one of her illustrious priests, Rev. Fr. Joseph Mulders, a Dutch SMA missionary who was the Parish Priest of Bechem (1936 to 1959), the Catholic Church established St. Joseph’s College of Education. Like all great rivers of academic knowledge the College started as trickles from its remote sources. From a modest beginning with the first crop of 21 men as students and three members of staff in 1948, today, the College can boast of a student population of 935 (620 men and 315 women) and 52 teaching staff and a non-teaching staff strength of 40. St. Joseph’s College was the first post-elementary institution in the then Ahafo area (from Akropong in Atwima Nwabiagya District to Tanoso in Tano North District) of the Gold Coast. It started as a two-year Teacher Training College to cater for the needs of the expanding programme of education. The land on which the College is situated was donated by Nana Fosu Gyeabour, the then Bechemanhene, and his elders in 1947


Admission was strictly by entrance examination based on recommendation from the Local Managers (Parish Priests) of schools. By dispensation, the chiefs and opinion leaders of Bechem and deprived areas outside Bechem where teachers refused postings or transfers could make direct appeal to the College Management for admission for their young men to be trained as teachers.


The first trainees made up of 21 men arrived on campus on Monday, February 9, 1948. They were later joined by four (4) others from Bechem Traditional Area on scholarship from the Traditional Council. One of the pioneers, Mr. C. C. Appiah, recalled that the following day, Tuesday, February 10, the rising bell was tolled at 5:15a.m with a message: “Rise up! Rise up with your cutlasses”. Visibility was very poor but they were asked to clear a thicket near the College for a farm. As if the task was designed to initiate them as freshers (homos), barely ten minutes into the work they were suddenly attacked by bees and every student was stung. There was panic with students running helter-shelter. The work was suspended until daylight when they found the swarm and used fire to disperse them for work on the farm to continue. Bechem in the 1940s was one of the few towns in the then Ashanti Region (made up of today’s Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions) with a senior or middle school – St. Joseph’s Boys School. There were also three (3) in Kumasi and one (1) each in Bekwai, Obuasi, Jamasi and Berekum. Bechem, at that time, was a hub of education and pupils who wanted to further their education beyond junior school (upper primary) moved to St. Joseph’s Boys School or one of the others.

It must be emphasized that Catholics at that time were obliged to enroll their wards in Catholic Schools. In an effort to fulfill the Church’s mission of sanctifying, teaching and governance, Fr. Mulders as a good missionary, began by building churches and mission houses – sanctifying ministry. He then moved to education by constructing schools to increase access to education and to use them as part of the Church’s mission of evangelization and human capital development. He saw education as an integral part of his ministry, therefore, he did not only put up structures but he also realised the need to train dedicated, faith-filled and morally upright teachers who would form the young ones holistically in the schools he was establishing.


The College shall become a leading Teacher Training Institution in Ghana recognized for holistic and quality teacher education.


The College shall exist for the development of academic, professional and occupational competencies necessary for the preparation of dedicated, disciplined, committed, resourceful, creative and patriotic teachers capable of teaching in the basic schools in Ghana.

Core Values

The College shall be guided by the virtues of our Patron, St. Joseph:

  • Obedience,
  • Hard work,
  • Honesty,
  • Chastity
  • Humility and
  • Interdependence

To achieve this, Fr. Mulders decided to start a Teacher Training College for men. He needed the permission of the colonial government to commence the project and so he sent a letter requesting its blessing. He stated in the letter that he had already started building. The response from the government by telegram simply read: “STOP BUILDING.” Fr. Mulders responded by telegram: “I HAVE STOPPED BUILDING.” Three days later, he sent another telegram to the government: “I HAVE STARTED BUILDING.” Government’s response was again: “STOP BUILDING.” These exchanges went on for some time. After the sixth correspondence, the government gave in and granted permission.

The College was housed initially at the Catholic Mission in two blocks of six classrooms originally built for a girls’ school (later St. Theresa’s Girls School). The two blocks were used as classrooms, dormitories and dining hall. There was overcrowding when the 1949 year group joined the pioneers, but as Mr. Appiah wrote in his memoir, “we took it coolly and calmly to pave way for others to come in” – all in the spirit of the College Motto: “Obi dan bi”.


"Obi dan bi"

Literally meaning "Interdependence" - based on mutual respect for one another and the common good

1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 12-27


Some of the initial challenges were inadequate supply of water. There was also no electricity so students resorted to lanterns and pressure lamps. Bathrooms and toilets were improvised. In the words of Mr. Appiah: “we courageously embraced and endured all the challenges to keep the College opened; knowing it would be well for later generations”.


The formal opening and blessing of the College took place on February 23, 1948. Some of the dignitaries at the function were Rt. Rev. Hubert Paulissen, Bishop of the then Catholic Diocese of Kumasi (today’s Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions), Nana Fosu Gyeabour, Omanhene of Bechem, Nana Yiadom Boakye, Omanhene of Berekum, Fr. Joseph Mulders, Parish Priest of Bechem and founder of the College, the Reverend Minister of Bechem Presbyterian Church, and representatives of the colonial government.

The pioneer students were happy to enjoy their first holidays on March 17, feast of St. Patrick, and March 19, feast of St. Joseph. These holidays were significant – March 17, St. Patrick’s Day is an important national holiday in Ireland, and the first Principal being Irish wanted everyone in the College to observe the day with him. St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, was even more relevant because the College had been “christened” – St. Joseph College. St. Joseph’s Day has been observed in the College ever since.


The first Principal of the College was Mr. I. J. Nicholson; he was supported by Mr. Nkansah Dwamena and Mr. Danso Dapaah (who later became Dr. Danso Dapaah of Mater Dei Hospital, Kumasi) as tutors. They were joined later by Messrs Agyarko Wiredu, Donelan, Arthur, Anthony Brembah and Twumasi Ankra.


St. Louis College was later built in 1960 in Kumasi as the female counterpart of St. Joseph’s College. Both Colleges belonged to the same Catholic Diocese of Kumasi until June 1973 when the Catholic Diocese of Sunyani which at the time comprised the whole of Brong Ahafo Region was created. To afford girls the opportunity of training closer at home St. Joseph’s College became co-ed or mixed in 1974.


St. Joseph’s College since its establishment has offered various pre-service teacher training programmes at different times to meet the teacher needs and demands of the nation. From 1948 to 1962 the College ran the 2-year Certificate ‘B’ course. This was changed to the 4-year Certificate ‘A’ course as a result of a national policy review in 1962 and this programme ran until 1974.

Between 1974 and 1976, specialist courses in Maths and Science were introduced. In 1975, a 3-year Post-Secondary course for Commercial and Vocational skills was introduced to produce teachers for the newly established junior secondary schools. In 1979, a 3-year Post-Secondary General course was introduced and it ran until 1983.

The 4-year Certificate ‘A’ was reintroduced from 1984 to 1991. The College partnered the Ghana Education Service to run a modular course for pupil teachers from 1985 to 1989. The modular course was run concurrently with the 4-year Certificate ‘A’ course. In 1992 the 3-year Post-Secondary General course was reintroduced.

In September 2002, a new teacher education policy, “IN-IN-OUT” was introduced. This involved trainees spending the first two years on campus studying content and methods, and spending the third year off campus doing practicum under the guidance of mentors and link tutors. In October 2004, all the Teacher Training Colleges were upgraded to Tertiary institutions to offer Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) programme. The College was accredited to become a College of Education offering Diploma in Basic Education.

Apart from the regular residential programmes, the College was selected by the Teacher Education Division of the Ghana Education Service to run a sandwich programme - Untrained Teachers Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) and a 4-year Untrained Teachers Certificate ‘A’ for pupil teachers from 2005 to 2009. From 2007 to 2011 a 2-year Sandwich DBE (Top-Up) for Certificate ‘A’ teachers was also ran by the College. In 2012, a 2-year Post-Diploma in Basic Education (Sandwich) was introduced by the Institute of Education, University of Cape Coast. The College ran the programme until 2017. There are plans to re-introduce it in the 2018/2019 academic year.

The College also runs a 3-year DBE, a 2-year Post-Diploma in Basic Education and a 1-year Diploma in Education, a 4-year B.Ed (Basic Education) and a 4-year B.A (Social Studies) on campus (Distance) on behalf of the University of Education, Winneba.


The following have been Principals or Acting Principals of the College over the years.

Mr. I. J. Nicholson 1948 – 1950
Rev. P. R. Burges Jan. 1951 – Dec. 1951
Mr. McKenna 1952 – 1956
Mr. Nkansa Dwamena Jan. 1957 – Dec. 1957
Mr. S. I. Burke Jan. 1958 – Dec. 1961
Mr. Vincent Ayivor Jan. 1962 – Aug. 1973
Mr. M. K. Amissah (Ag) Sept. 1973 – Aug. 1974
Mr. John Anquandah Sept. 1974 – Aug. 1980
Mr. I. F. Afful (Ag) Sept. 1980 – Aug. 1983
Mr. Michael Plas Otwe Sept. 1983 – April 1992
Mr. Samuel Anning (Ag) May 1992 – Aug. 1992
Mr. L. A. Andoh Sept. 1992 – March 1997
Ms. Cordelia Mary Boakye-Yiadom April 1997 - May 2003
Mrs. B. A. Prempeh (Ag) May 2003 – Oct. 2003
Mr. C. D. B. Mensah Oct. 2003 – June 2009
Mr. Anthony Agyeman (Ag) June 2009 – Aug. 2010
Mrs. Cecilia Quansah Sept. 2010 – May 2013
Ms. Elizabeth Oti Akenten (Ag) May 2013 – Sept. 2013
Rev. Msgr. Matthew Addai Sept. 2013 – Sept 2021
Mr. Isaac Godfred Antwi (Ag) Sept. 2021- up to Date