Some students in the classroom
Some students in the classroom

The making of Tamale Girls SHS (Pag’ Na)

There is ample evidence that girls in all girls’ schools outperform their counterparts in mixed schools.


It was, therefore, worrying that before 1999, the then Northern Region was arguably the only region in the country without an all-girls’ secondary school. Marshalling resources and initiating engagements to start a girls’ school amid various constraints required foresight, visionary leadership and the determination to make a change.

All of that came in the form of Dr Sulemana Abudulai, the founder of Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS), a Tamale-based NGO. By late 90s, Dr Abudulai realised that the incessant planning and meetings to get the first all-girls’ school would not lead to anywhere if concrete steps were not taken, saying “if we do not start, it can never be started”.

Dr Abudulai and RAINS, therefore, engaged political leaders and educational authorities in the region to start the school. The Ghana Education Service (GES) gave the idea its blessings. Alhaji Seidu Iddi, now the Mandariwura of the Bole Traditional area, who was then the Northern Regional Minister, also gave lots of encouragement to RAINS.


RAINS fell on its generous external partners for funding. Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), known at that time as the Cambridge Female Education Trust, bought into the proposal and agreed to support the establishment of the school.

Other partners were ACCESS 4, and Womankind, both UK charities. The unassuming Dr Sulemana Abudulai, was instrumental in mobilising all those partners. It was decided that the school should begin on the premises of Mr Albert Atutigah’s private school at the Kaladan Barracks as a temporary site.

And in 1999, the first batch of 56 girls, from diverse backgrounds, were enrolled into the school with Mr Issah Issahaku (aka Insect), now deceased, as the first “Headmaster”. 
In time, as the student numbers grew, the school was relocated to the defunct Tamale Workers Canteen in 2002.

Daily Graphic 

The Daily Graphic joined our advocacy efforts by bringing the attention of the nation to the challenges facing the school. In one of such stories about the deprived school, the paper splashed on its pages a headline: “Tamale Girls’ School faces closure”.

 The reporter, Zakaria Alhassan, now the Chief Sub Editor of the paper, re-echoed the challenges and how the resources of RAINS and CAMFED were dwindling and needed a helping hand.

The publication caught the attention Dr Bafour Agyeman Duah, then Executive Director of CDD, a CSO, who responded and offered to support us with either a 3-unit classroom block or a bus. The school opted for a bus because it did not have any means of transportation.

The late Wamale Naa Abu, also generously donated a huge parcel of land for the construction of a permanent campus where the school is now located. District assemblies in the region also contributed to a special account for the school.

The then Tamale Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Alhassan Mohammed Adam (RA), also showed interest in the project and made the assembly fund the initial survey drawings and works for the school.  

If the fledgling school had scored some victories in its young life, its biggest moment came in 2003, when it was formally absorbed into the government school system. The then Northern Regional Director of Education, Mr Chikpa K. Demuyakor, wrote to RAINS, saying, “I am happy to formally inform you of the absorption of the Tamale Girls’ Secondary School which you founded and nurtured into the public school system.”

Full control took place in 2004, with the appointment of the school’s first Board of Directors. Today, the school is situated in a nice, well-appointed campus at Wamale, on the Tamale-Yendi road. 


Space will, however, not allow me to express appreciation to the government, individuals, corporate organisations, CSOs and NGOs within and without who all helped in various ways to ensure the realisation of our dream of establishing the first Girls’ SHS in the Northern Region. May the Almighty God bless you all. Ni yi tuma pam!!

— The Author was the secretary to the working committee of the school project. He was also the financial controller, and Executive Director of RAINS, responsible for coordinating stakeholder efforts. 

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