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Sub-Saharan Africa

Preparing students for college and careers: International Community School in Kumasi, Ghana

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Country: Ghana
Sector: Education

Challenge: Significant demand for high-quality education from an internationally-certified institution that will prepare students for college.

Solution: Direct OPIC loan of $1.75 million to leverage a $2.5 million expansion of the International Community School in Kumasi, the only school in central Ghana offering an international curriculum.

Impact: Construction of advanced secondary school facilities, a student center, and administrative center has allowed the school to increase enrollment from 460 to 1,010 students. Several recent graduates have gone on to attend college in the United States.

Quality education for locals in Ghana

a boy student standing on a chair writing on the white board of a classroomThe quality of public schools in Ghana is mixed. As an alternative to the public school system, many Ghanaian families turn to internationally-certified schools to provide their children with a quality education.  While there are a number of international schools in the capital city of Accra, only one such school exists in the Ashanti region of central Ghana: the International Community School (ICS) in Kumasi. ICS is an independent, co-educational institution that operates under a University of Cambridge program, as well as the International Primary Curriculum, which is gaining popularity around the world. ICS is partially owned by Three E Kumasi Investment Company LLC, a U.S.-based investment firm that seeks to invest in projects with potential for significant social impact.

ICS was founded in January 2000 as a primary and secondary school (K-12) for both day students and boarders. The mission of ICS is to create a world-class education through a rigorous curriculum that includes reading, math, music, art, science, as well as English and French. The school aims to create future leaders who are both worldly as well as dedicated members of their communities. Unlike other International Schools in Ghana that serve a largely expatriate population, ICS focuses on educating local Ghanaians, who comprise 91% of the student body and 94% of the staff. Although ICS is a private institution, its tuition is significantly lower than comparable international schools in Ghana, allowing the school to accommodate more local Ghanaians. ICS also has a scholarship program, covering the tuition costs of at least four students in every class, as well as the tuition of all faculty children.

Doubling capacity and extending impact
students and their teachers outside on the lawnIn the mid-2000s, the school was looking to expand and provide the opportunity for more students in the region to receive a high-quality education. In 2006, OPIC provided a direct loan of $1.75 million to leverage a $2.5 million expansion of the school. This expansion allowed ICS to increase enrollment from 460 to 1,010 students and build facilities such as science labs, computer work stations, a student center, and an administrative center.  
With increased resources, the International Community School has been able to provide a high-caliber education that prepares its students for college acceptance; the class of 2012 is sending its graduates off to some of the world’s top universities, including Brown, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Moving Forward
In 2011, OPIC approved a second loan of $950,000 to the International Community School to leverage a $1.6 million expansion of the school’s dormitory facilities. Expanded residential facilities will allow the school to serve a wider population, including students from neighboring countries who currently lack access to quality education. ICS plans to construct three, single-story dormitories to be completed by June 2013, which will accommodate an additional 150 boarding students.

This project was profiled in 2012