Minister Matthew Prempeh
Education Minister of Ghana
“Education Leadership through Crisis” is a multi-week video series featuring wisdom from a diverse group of education leaders.
Below, watch highlights from host Mubuso Zamchiya’s interview with Minister Matthew Prempeh on how collaboration allows education ministers to better serve their constituents and the importance of adapting quickly in today’s world.
Scroll down to watch the full interview.
“Countries are learning from each other, and the more we get together as educational ministers, the more we can share our experiences and we can learn from each other; we can provide a better service to the population out there that so much deserves better leadership.”
Meet Minister Matthew Prempeh
Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh is the Minister of Education in Ghana and also the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Manhyia South constituency in the Ashanti Region.
He started his primary education at the KNUST Primary School his secondary education at Prempeh College. From there, he entered the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology where he read medicine. He is also an alumnus of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he undertook programmes in Leadership.
At KNUST, he won the position as the local National Union of Ghanaian Students (NUGS) President, a position he held from 1991 -1992. In 1995, Dr. Prempeh left Ghana to pursue further education and work as a surgeon in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
In 2005, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh decided to return to Ghana to pursue a career in business and more importantly in politics. He successfully became the Member of Parliament for Manhyia in 2009. Ahead of the 2012 elections, the constituency was divided into two, and in those elections, he won the newly-created Manhyia South constituency, which he retained in 2016.
As Minister of Education, he successfully led the successful implementation of the government’s flagship Free SHS programme, which is now in its third year with a record breaking 1.2m student enrollment, up from a total SHS population of 800,000 at the end of 2016.
In addition to this, he has led the pursuit of important reforms in the education sector TVET, teacher training and professionalization, teacher welfare, curriculum reforms and several others.
Earlier this year, Dr. was selected as the 2020 recipient of the Harvard Ministerial Medal of Achievement in recognition of his work over the past four years towards strengthening public education in Ghana. Specific criteria include insightful leadership, clarity of purpose, consistent commitment to the goals, and tangible benefits for citizens from the Minister’s efforts.
He has also been declared The Best Minister in President Akufo-Addo’s government on two occasions and has received several other awards and citations from various stakeholders in the education sector.
View the Full Interview
1. (01:18) Can you tell us a little bit about how you grew up? How did education helped inform and shape your vision and your hopes for who you would become as an adult?
2. (14:27) How have all of those experiences shaped your vision and your view of education and also leadership?
3. (24:39) What would you say is your vision for education in Ghana today?
4. (26:43) Taking into account the history of Ghana’s political transition and some of the crisis moments the country has experienced, how have leaders before you navigated the system to where it is today?
5. (34:58) How do you take the education platform manifesto into implementation? How did you build the team that you needed to make such a transition?
6. (39:39) How did you navigate the financial dynamics of putting your plan together?
7. (44:45) What advice do you have for leaders that are trying to work through this crisis, and what are your plans for Ghana?
8. (59:14) What lessons or advice do you have for your peers, Ministers of Education working through this crisis?
9. (1:00:04) What books inspired your desire for lifelong learning as a child?
10. (1:01:47) Any parting advice?
“Let’s accept the fact that yes, there is going to be some learning loss…Let’s put in place mechanisms to catch-up going forward, and bring back programs [so] that girl children will come back to school, vulnerable children will come back to school. Start those programs now…We are going to deal with the problems squarely.”
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