Emmanuel Evans-Anfom FGA OSG (7 October 1919 – 7 April 2021) was a Ghanaian physician, scholar, university administrator, and public servant who served as the second Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology from 1967 to 1973.
Early life and education
A member of the Ga-Dangme people of Accra, Evans-Anfom was born on 7 October 1919 at the Evans family house, High Street, Accra. His father, William Quarshie Anfom, was of Shai and Nzema origin. His mother, Mary Evans, was the daughter of William Timothy Evans, a teacher-catechist of the Basel Mission Middle School or the Salem School at Osu. The Evans family was a well-known Euro-African Ga family on the Gold Coast. In 1925, he enrolled at the Government Boys School in Jamestown. He attended the Presbyterian middle boarding school, the Salem School at Osu where the principal at the time, Carl Henry Clerk encouraged him to apply for a Cadbury Scholarship for study at Achimota School instead of going the normal teacher-training route at the Basel Mission-founded Presbyterian teacher training seminary at Akropong, now known as the Presbyterian College of Education, Akropong. He was elected the School Prefect of Achimota School. In January 1939, he enrolled in the inter-preliminary medical course of Science at Achimota. In that course, he received advanced training in physics, chemistry, botany and zoology. At Achimota, he won a Gold Coast medical scholarship in 1941 to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1947. He also studied in a postgraduate diploma course in tropical medicine (DTM&H), completing in 1950.
Evans-Anfom worked in various hospitals in the government medical system: Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dunkwa-On-Offin Government Hospital, Tarkwa Government Hospital, the Kumasi Central Hospital, Tamale Government Hospital and Effia Nkwanta Hospital in Sekondi. During his long medical career, he worked with other medical trailblazers such as Susan Ofori-Atta and Matilda J. Clerk, the first and second Ghanaian women physicians respectively. He also did medical outreach in the Congo in the 1960s.
A pioneering medical educator himself, he was approached by the first Ghanaian surgeon, Charles Odamtten Easmon in 1963 for a teaching professorship position at the then newly established University of Ghana Medical School, an offer he eventually accepted. In 1958, Evans-Anfom co-founded the Ghana Medical Association together with Drs. Charles Odamtten Easmon, Silas Dodu, Anum Barnor and Schandorf. He later served as president of the association from 1968 to 1970.
Term as Vice-Chancellor
Evans-Anfom served as the second Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) from 1967 to 1973. At KNUST, Anfom first introduced the ceremony commonly known as "Matriculation" into the university entry ceremonies. He chaired a myriad of committees, boards and missions, both locally and on the international scene in Africa, Europe and North America.
Politics and public service
Evans-Anfom served concurrently as the Commissioner of Education and Culture and Commissioner for Health under the military government of the Jerry John Rawlings-led Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) in the late 1970s. He was a member of the Council of State in the Hilla Limann government from 1979 to 1981. During the Provisional National Defence Council era under Jerry Rawlings, Evans-Anfom was appointed the chairman of the National Council for Higher Education (now National Council for Tertiary Education) and the chairman of the Education Commission.
He was president of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (1987–90) and chairman of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). During Evans-Anfom's time as Commissioner of Education, Rawlings appointed him the chair of a special commission to review the existing Ghanaian educational system, and the committee introduced reforms beginning in 1987. Changes under the Evans-Anfom Committee included establishing a nine-year basic education consisting of primary school (six years) and junior secondary school (three years), followed by a newly established senior secondary school education (three years); requiring successful passage of examinations for the end of both secondary school sequences; and changing the emphasis of education from strictly academic to also include vocational, technical and practical training. Other changes implemented by the committee included grouping secondary school curricular programs into five categories: Agriculture, General Arts and Science, Business, Technical, and Vocational.
Evans-Anfom had four children with his first wife Leonora Evans, a West Indian American who died in 1980. In 1984, he married Elise Henkel. He was founding president of the Gold Coast Hockey Association in 1950. He served as a presbyter of the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, Osu, where he was a congregant. Evans-Anfom celebrated his 101st birthday in October 2020, and died on 7 April 2021 in Accra, aged 101 years.
Awards and honours
In 1996, he was adjudged the "Alumnus of the Year" by his alma mater, the University of Edinburgh for "his major contribution to the development of medicine in the Congo and to medical education in Ghana".
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