Accra, Ghana Report of what it's like to live there - 03/09/21
Personal Experiences from Accra, Ghana
Lincoln Community School
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
Parent of child attending.
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
3. What years did you live here?
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Yes, there are other options, make sure to do your homework. We chose Lincoln because it offered IB and it was recommended to us.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Good pre-COVID-19 but, in our experience, horrible during COVID-19. I think it will take them years to get back to what they had.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Terrible. We found the administration to be dismissive and communication seemed to be one way. Communication comes from an App and email.
2. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?
Laptops. They don't like to issue books. They didn't even issue books until February to my children.
Academics & Resources:
1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?
The college counselor failed to submit proper paperwork on time last year causing some kids to miss out on top schools, like Oxford. I'm not counting on the school to do anything for my kids. I will get several copies of transcripts when I depart just as a precaution. They are slow to respond to colleges; we have to ping multiple times to get something done.
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Yes, it is large but unusable due to COVID-19 (although other schools here have figured out how students can access their libraries during the pandemic).
3. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
Own laptops, reliable internet, printers, and scanners are required. Everything is on Zoom, so you need a caretaker to ensure your child is actually attending. So if you work, make sure you have someone at home to educate your child, because I don't think Lincoln will be in a rush to open post-COVID.
The school constantly boasts "high quality online instruction", but this is a self-given label, I think. There is nothing to support or prove this. Our experience has been the contrary.
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
NONE - everything is closed due to COVID.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
It's decent for in-person learning. For Zoom school it's not enough, students get missed, overlooked and forgotten. We found that individual help doesn't exist online.
6. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?
They are available, but the kids are very behind at this point compared to my previous kids who took the IB. We are strongly considering dropping the IB because it simply isn't being taught properly and can't be taught solely online.
7. Are students generally challenged appropriately by the curriculum? Please describe any particular strengths or weaknesses in this area. Do you have any thoughts how the curriculum is applied and implemented at this school?
With online school comes open book tests because it can't be prevented. This is not to IB standard, therefore not preparing them for IB exams. The curriculum is challenging, but we find that teachers grade easier because they understand online learning is inadequate.
8. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
It's all homework, students are expected to teach themselves with electronic books. They only issued physical books in February, and not even all of them.
9. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
NONE during COVID-19. It seems like the kids are just watching school happen remotely.
10. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
11. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
12. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?
No activities. Everything is closed.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. What is the climate for LGBT+ kids at this school? Are there resources they can draw upon? Does there appear to be any exclusionary behavior?
LGBT+ is supported.
2. What is the climate for children with special needs? Is there a general attitude of inclusion for children with special needs?
The students are great about being inclusive, when/if given the chance. For the past year, students haven't been permitted to attend school on a regular basis even when all other local schools were open.
3. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
No not really. The school's response to COVID-19 has made it seem like Ghana isn't a safe place to be during COVID.
4. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.
We found there to be an overall lack of respect in regards to religious faith. In our experience, it seems that bullying happens against all types of faith; yet the school doesn't seem to recognize it as a problem even when it happens in open discussions.
1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?
F - I would not choose it again. They promised to open when the President of Ghana permitted, which would have been the middle of January 2021. However, without warning, they decided to remain closed indefinitely. The school board has closed board meetings without transparency. Parents aren't allowed to speak at meetings, most written questions go unanswered.
I'm so disappointed, we've been to multiple international schools and loved them all, but we are so disappointed with LCS. I would look for other options but it's too late for us.
2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
The teachers are great with the students but for us, we found the Administration to be lacking
Challenges: Obviously COVID-19 has been hard, but the school's response compounded the problem. They were/are disorganized and reluctant to re-open even though all the other schools have. For example, an email was sent at 5am for certain kids to come to campus that day by 8am. Sometimes emails come out at 11pm for a situation the next day.
Due to COVID, some teachers left Ghana and tried to do online classes from the U.S. making my kids have meetings as late at 10pm locally.
3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
As of March 9, 2021 the school is in the process of re-opening, but high school and middle school is only allowed 2 partial days a week of in-person learning "until further notice". To our knowledge, there are no plans to re-open fully. We are so disappointed.