Mrs. Comfort Adjavon, the progenitor of TIS, nursed the dream to establish a public educational institution – that was about twenty years ago when she retired from the Ghana Education Service, at the age of 45, as a Principal Superintendent. Her resignation from the service was actually inspired by her love for, and intention to venture into farming full-time, particularly, poultry and livestock. It is reported that after 13 years, and in spite of the success of the farm, she still missed teaching. In addition to that, the circumstances of her disabled granddaughter, Sonia – eager to attend school yet unable to receive proper care where she was sent, gave vent to Comfort’s initial dream of establishing a school. So acting upon the encouragement and support of her husband, daughter and friends, she penned the plan for a national school for children, in order also for her granddaughter to receive proper care and tuition. So modest but beautiful structures began to surface to begin this national school for children.
Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs Ajavon, at the time, had sent one of their daughters to British School of Lome (BSL), an international school in Togo, and were inspired by the progress they saw in her, from exposure to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programmes. The crux of the matter is that the couple’s involvement with BSL had a great impact on the TIS dream; an interplay of academic and economic interests gradually altered the initial dream with a much more focus on an international school.
And so after further consultations and counsel from experts in the academia, such as Professor James Toole of Newcastle University, the couple was convinced that the IGCSE and IB diploma Programmes would support their vision of producing world class citizens who could hold their own wherever they found themselves, thus culminating in the birth of Tema International School (TIS). It was at this time that Mr Ajavon gave an astronomic boost to infrastructure, pushing the school’s boundaries and erecting gigantic structures with the fragrance of an international school.
Acquisition of land and Construction of structures
Characteristic of every dream, Mr. and Mrs. Adjavon had their fair share of challenges. One huge one was the acquisition of land to construct the buildings for TIS. It took the founders four years to acquire a sizeable piece of land to construct structures for the school.
Thereafter, there was the need for an architect and a foreman to get the project off the ground, so Mr. Samuel Jassie-Sarkodie and Mr. Kobla Kotoka Ahiadorme were brought in as the architect and foreman respectively; a team that could later be described as a ‘dream team’! With the help of this team, the following structures were built to receive the first cohort of students, ‘the Pioneers’: the hostels, a 12-classroom block and the Multi-Purpose Hall. At that time, the infirmary was located in one of the rooms in the Catherine Hostel while the Arts Studio was located in the Multi-Purpose Hall. The Library, Administration offices, Music Laboratory, Science Laboratory and Computer Laboratories were all located in empty classrooms in the classroom block.
Ten years on, there has been massive improvement in the infrastructure of the school. Departments that were housed in the classrooms have found permanent locations; we have an Administration Block; the Einstein Resource Centre which houses the computer labs and all the Science Laboratories; the Handel-Picasso Block which houses the Arts Studios, Music Laboratories, Language Laboratory and two exam halls; and an imposing multi-chambered library block. In addition to that, the school can now boast of a standard-sized football pitch, a well-equipped gym, a semi-Olympic-sized swimming pool, two squash courts, an indoor volley ball, hand ball, badminton, basketball and table tennis courts.