Thursday, April 23, 2009

Profile: Dominic Ansa Asare

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

His passion for music started at the tender age of six when he learnt how to play the piano perfectly, to the admiration of his family and entire church congregation. Today, what was started over 30 years ago as a hobby has been built upon to become a lifetime career.

Dominic does not only play the piano; he is now into music business as well. He owns a production company known as MIDO. Here, there is a well-built studio where he produces jingles and creates adverts for radio and television. Besides, he trains people on vocal coaching and choir directing and provides short courses in live sound engineering and recording studio engineering.

Dominic Ansa Asare is not a stranger on our television sets. He is an articulate judge on Mentor, a live musical performance show on TV3. His unbiased criticism of the performance of the contestants makes him the toast of many viewers of the show every Sunday.

Looking sharp and gentle in a black suit, the Junior Graphic caught up with him at his office last week Monday to share in his music laurels. In a chat, Dominic, as he is affectionately called, disclosed that he started music at the age of six. 

“My dad was a music teacher at the Yaa Asantewaa Girls’ Secondary School and later Prempeh College so music was brewed right in my house,” he said with a smile.

He said initially he started playing the piano at home just for fun and later decided to take it seriously when a family friend who was three years older than he came to the house to play better than he. 

“The boy could play any tune, from Handel to Mozart. And these are very challenging and heavy tunes for a child to play. I, therefore, decided to challenge him, since the piano was in my house 24 hours,” he recalled.

With that challenge at the back of his mind, Dominic spent longer hours playing various tunes just to beat his family friend to it. He said sometimes he had to skip food just to play the keyboard to his satisfaction.

 Gradually, his dream came true. At age nine he was the church organist for the Kwadaso Presbyterian secondary school, the school pianist and also a visiting pianist for several Presbyterian churches till date.

Dominic recalled an interesting event which took place while he was in secondary school. According to him, one day when it was time for church, the lights went off and all the students started jumping and shouting in excitement. For them, church service was over. Interestingly, Dominic, who was then the school pianist, walked majestically into the hall, searched for the piano and started playing some hymns for the service to commence. That really startled most of his colleagues, who nicknamed him the keyboard wizard.

Asked if he ever had time for his books and even helped in doing some of the house chores, Dominic surprisingly disclosed that he was a professional Agricultural Economist.

 “In fact, you can call me a trained farmer and you will not be far from right. I know it will come as a surprise to a lot of people who don’t know me very well,” he said.

On house chores, Dominic described himself as an excellent cook. He explained that he had only two sisters and, therefore, all the boys in the house had a role to play in the house.

 “I swept the compound always, cleaned the living room and also cooked for the house. I know how to prepare simple dishes such as rice and the most difficult ones such as banku and fufu. I can also mix cake and bake it,” he said.

According to him, although he is so much into music, he actually studied science at both the Ordinary and  Advanced levels at  Prempeh College. 

“When I got to secondary Form Three, I wanted to change from the sciences to General Arts so I could carry on with music as a subject.  However, I was having problems with the changes so I switched back to the sciences again in Form Four,” he recollected.

After secondary school, he went to the University of Ghana, Legon, to study Agricultural Science. 

At the university, Dominic did not put aside his music career. He converted his wardrobe into a studio and put a microphone in it where he and his friends played songs and also did some recordings for themselves.

Besides, he was the General Secretary for the Presbyterian Students Association and he was always on the move, travelling from one place to another. Due to that, many were those who thought Dominic would not excel in his university education, including even his father. He, however, proved them wrong by coming out with a Second Class (Upper Division) degree.

Immediately after university, Dominic was appointed  a teaching assistant and was attached to the University Research Farms. He later moved to Afariwa Farms. 

“At Afariwa, I was seconded to the Hove Farms in the Volta Region. I, however, fell in love with the farm and took an appointment there,” he disclosed.

He worked on that farm between 1995 and 1999 and developed it to win the Best Farm award for the Volta Region in 1999. Having chalked up that success, he decided to move to Accra in 2000 to start his own business.

“While I was in the Volta Region, I always bought musical instruments whenever I travelled to Accra. As a result, I had enough instruments to enable me start my music business,” he noted.

Dominic started his music business in a single room which was partitioned into sound, voice and control rooms. Fortunately, as the business grew, he decided to leave the single room for a more spacious office at Asylum Down in Accra.

His outfit was the brain behind the jingle for the new Ghana cedis. He has also composed several songs for some corporate bodies and school anthems for some private schools. 

When it comes to Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Dominic is also a master in that field. 

He also has to his credit numerous international certificates in music.

Dominic,  the sixth of eight children, was born on January 2, 1969 to the late Julius Ansa Asare and Mrs Josephine Ansa Asare. The keyboard wizard hails from Larteh in the Eastern Region. He started his primary education at the Tanoso Anglican Primary between 1975 and 1976. He later moved to  Prempeh Primary School from 1977 to 1980 and had his secondary education at  Prempeh College from 1981 to 1988.

Dominic, who is a devoted Presbyterian, is married to Mina Ansa Asare, with whom he has two children, Kobby and Lois.

He believes in the ‘can-do spirit’. Aside his passion for music, he is also a very good tennis player.

According to him, whatever one wants do, one must do it to the best of his or her ability. 

“Although my father was a music teacher, I never waited for him to teach me the rudiments of music. I learnt them myself and while I was growing up I bought a lot of books which taught people how to do things on their own. This is the best way to broaden one’s knowledge and study as well,” he advised.

SHAME! Most Private schools are sub-standard!

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

The President of the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS), Mr Godwin Sowah, has disclosed that most private schools are not up to standard in terms of infrastructure and performance.

Mr Sowah explained in an interview that some private schools did not employ qualified and experienced teachers and as a result, students did not receive the good tuition and that reflected in their poor performance.

“Some of the private schools are established by people who have little or no knowledge about education as a profession. Therefore, there is poor supervision of academic work, character training, discipline of teachers and students,” he added.

According to him, some proprietors of private schools had been basking in the widely held belief that private schools performed better therefore required huge investment for one’s child to be enrolled.

He said such schools hardly performed well but exploited innocent students and parents. “They are not bothered about the achievement of students as long as there are children in the classrooms paying fees,” he added.

He further expressed concern over the way and manner the Ghana Education Service (GES) handled the registration and licensing of schools at all levels of the educational system and said that practice had resulted in the springing up of all manner of schools.

Mr Sowah affirmed that even though GNAPS could recommend the closure of such schools, the GES had no means of checking the work and achievements of the schools because it lacked the logistics to inspect schools.

He said sometimes it became very difficult to close down such low standard private schools, especially where there might not be other schools in the community to be used as alternative facilities.

Mr Sowah disclosed that in order to arrest the situation, GNAPS would set up an inspectorate division to monitor the operations of private schools in the country before the end of 2009. 

According to him, the inspectorate office would advise school proprietors to operate in a safe and decent environment, adding that the office would have the legal authority and capacity to go public with some of its findings and concerns over private schools.

Children cry for peace

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

Ghanaian children have appealed to the government to put measures in place to bring down the tension in the northern part of the country to enable children from that area to have sound minds to concentrate on their studies.

They said as a result of the constant gunshots, burning of houses, taking of lives and destruction of properties in the north, many children there had dropped out of school. 

“There is the need to find a solution to these conflicts so that innocent children will not be rendered homeless, made orphans and, above all, fail in their academic endeavours,” they said.

The appeal was contained in a message presented to President John Evans Atta Mills during the President’s Independence Day Awards to 20 students who excelled in the 2008 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

The message, which was read in four languages — Dagbani, Ga, Ewe, Twi and English — also asked the government to improve the standard of living of parents and children living in the rural areas so that the high incidence of rural-urban migration among children of school age would be reduced. 

In response, the President gave the assurance that measures would be put in place to resolve the current tension in all the conflict areas in the northern part of Ghana.

He urged the children to desist from being disrespectful to their parents and teachers.

 “Your academic brilliance should not make you think that you are more important than those who gave birth to you and those who are helping you acquire knowledge,” he noted.

He asked the Minister of Education to constantly monitor the performance of all the 20 award winners to ensure that the investment the government was making in them yielded the desired results, explaining that the awards to the students were to honour and encourage the youth to take up the challenge and make the sky the limit in their studies.

In all, 20 students, made up of a boy and a girl from each of the 10 regions, received the 52nd anniversary awards. Each student was awarded a four-year scholarship to cover boarding and lodging for the period of studies in senior high school.

In addition, each of the students was presented with GH¢400, a special plaque, a book and a certificate signed by the President and the Minister of Education.

The value of the scholarship  will be adjusted as and when school fees are revised.

Nestle Ghana Limited, through its Milo brand, sponsored all aspects of the awards, except the four-year scholarship package. It was supported by Readwide and Fiesta Royal Hotel.

The award winners are Gloria Adoma Demitia Mensah and Kwabena Ababio Britwum, Ashanti Region; Grace Ayiwa Fosu and David Nkansah, Brong Ahafo Region; Esther Korkor Addo-Kumi and Leslie Atta Akplah, Central Region; Judith Edem Foli and Frimpong Y. Sarpong, Eastern Region and Annie Sarah Benson-Tambo and Solomon Nii Martey, Greater Accra Region.

The rest are Chiwasine Hanifa Iddrisu and Abdul-Rashid Alhassan, Northern Region; Yvonne P. Asomaning and Josbert Abasa Ayamvire, Upper East Region; Ishak N. Qudiratu and Mahama Baleng Wutor, Upper West; Esther Lilian Opusumah and Lawson Bosso-King, Volta Region, and Ophelia Esi Dickson and Matusala Kuma, Western Region. 

The Minister of Education, Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo, said a number of schemes and programmes had been instituted to provide the best form of educational opportunities so that the nation would be guaranteed  a prosperous future.

The schemes, he said, included the President’s Independence Day Awards instituted in 1993.

He said the government had demonstrated its total commitment to the provision of accessible, equitable, affordable and quality education for all children, no matter where they were located in the country.

Profile: Maulvi Dr Abdul Wahab Adam

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

He is one person who stands tall when it comes to national peace-building, issues on morality and religion. No wonder he has mediated in several issues which affect the nation and also on behalf of individuals who feel their rights have been trampled upon. 

This honourable person is Maulvi Dr Abdul Wahab Adam, the Ameer (Head) and Missionary in charge of the Ahmadiyya Mission in Ghana. 

The Ameer, who is always dressed in spotless white clothes, with a matching hat, told the Junior Graphic in an interview that as a spiritual leader, his greatest responsibility was to ensure that people did not live in fear but in harmony and in a peaceful environment.  Asked why he loves wearing white clothes, he laughed and jokingly said it was because calico is the cheapest fabric on the market. He, however, explained that he wore white because of the weather, which is usually warm. One noticeable thing about the Ameer is that he is generally knowledgeable in a lot of subjects and can easily pass for a historian. 

When asked who Ahmadis are, the eloquent, soft-spoken Ameer explained that it is a Community of Muslims founded towards the end of the 19th century. The Ahmadis practise the Islam that was taught and practiced by The Holy Prophet Mohammed. 

“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded in 1889 but was introduced in Ghana in the 1920s,” he disclosed.  Initially, it was headed by foreign missionaries. 

Interestingly, Maulvi Dr Abdul Wahab Adam is the first Black African who took charge in 1975 as the spiritual head of the Ghana Mission and has since remained the leader.

Sharing his background, with the Junior Graphic, the Ameer, who is the last of eight children, said he was born to Mr Suleiman K. Adam and Madam Ayesha Akua Woro, both deceased, at Brofoyedru in the Adansi West District of the Ashanti Region.  “I was born on a Sunday and named Ayim after a Chief at Asokwa. I was, therefore, called Akwasi Ayim. But my father, who was a practising Muslim and Honorary Missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, gave me a Muslim name, which is, Abdul Wahab. The name of my father was added to make my full name Abdul Wahab Adam” he added. 

 Explaining the meaning of his name, he said Abdul means 'Servant', while Wahab is an attribute of God which means 'a Great Giver'. No wonder he is a servant of God. While a teenager at Brofoyedru, he spent most of his time helping his parents on their coffee plantation. He collected firewood, fetched water and also swept the compound on a daily basis before setting off for school. 

“Brofoyedru was then a busy commercial centre and, therefore, on market days I helped my mum, who was a trader, to sell some of her wares. I also learnt how to cook, since my parents were always on the move,” he added. He started his early education at the Brofoyedru Methodist School and later continued at the United Senior School for his Middle School Leaving Certificate. He had his secondary education at the T.I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School in Kumasi.  “At school, I did a lot of sporting activities - I played football, volleyball, ping-pong and deck tennis,” he explained. With the help of his late mother, he left for Pakistan to study at the seminary for eight years. He graduated with a Shahid degree (equivalent to a Master's degree) and returned to Ghana in 1960 and was appointed as a Regional Missionary in Brong Ahafo and later Northern Region.  He also served as the Principal of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Missionary Training College then located at Saltpond. After working in Ghana for 11 years, he was recalled to Pakistan, and later sent to the United Kingdom where he became the Deputy Imam of the London Mosque. On his return to Ghana, he was appointed the Ameer (Head) & Missionary-In-Charge of the Mission.

The Ameer speaks many languages, among them English, Urdu, Arabic, and Akan.  He can also express himself a bit in Indonesian, Ki Swahili, Chinese, and German. Due to his peace-building initiatives, he has received various awards from the State, foreign missions and corporate entities. He was recently honoured with a national award (Companion of the Order of the Volta), Leadership Award by the Louisiana State University and Ambassador for Peace award from Korea. He is the Chairman of the Ghana Conference of Religions for Peace, a member of the National Peace Council, the Ghana Integrity Initiative and many others. Just like his parents, the Ameer and his wife have eight children, four boys and four girls. According to him, “children must learn to uphold the rules and regulations governing schools and avoid any act of violence which lead to the destruction of property and loss of lives”.

School Feeding must be wholesome

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) Secretariat has cautioned that caterers who prepare food with contaminated ingredients for the schoolchildren will have their contracts withdrawn.

This is to ensure that caterers provide schoolchildren under the GSFP with balanced and nutritious meals daily to avoid instances of food poisoning and other complaints associated with eating bad food.

The Co-ordinator of the GSFP, Mr Michael Kenneth Nsowah, who made this known to the Junior Graphic, said the basic concept of the programme was to provide children in public primary schools and kindergartens with one hot, nutritious meal prepared from locally grown foodstuffs every school day.

“The secretariat does not, therefore, see the reason why rotten food products or unwholesome ingredients will be used in the preparation of the meals, which will end up putting the lives of innocent children at risk,” he stressed.

Mr Nsowah disclosed that currently the number of children benefiting from the GSFP had shot up from 477,714 to 596,083 across the country, adding that the secretariat hoped to reach 800,000 pupils by the end of this year.

He said the GSFP had whipped up the interest of children from low school enrolment districts and those living in the poorest and most insecure food districts to eagerly look forward to attending school.

 “Interestingly, some parents go to the extent of moving their children from one community to another to attend school simply because meals are served in those schools,” he mentioned.

Mr Nsowah urged parents and teachers to debunk the rumour that the programme had been suspended, saying that the government had approved GH¢15 million for the smooth running of the GSFP for the academic year. 


Profile: Kwaw Ansah (TV Africa0

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

Have you ever wondered why TV Africa, one of the television stations in Ghana based in Accra, telecasts programmes which are mostly based on African cultures, music, festivals, traditional beliefs and practices? The reason is simply because the brain behind TV Africa is someone who has a passion for African values.

He is Mr Kwaw Ansah, a multi-talented person who is always dressed in African clothes, whether he is at work, at formal or social events. He established TV Africa and he is the Chief Executive Officer as well as the Executive Producer for most of its programmes mainly to ensure that viewers are given highly educative and entertaining programmes.

Last week, the Junior Graphic met with him to find out more about his childhood years. Immeditely this reporter entered his office something struck her. The chairs, tables and walls are all designed in various beautiful African symbols and designs and that spoke volumes about her personality. 

Explaining why his whole being is rooted in the African culture, he said, “Our culture is what unites us as one people. Therefore, it is important to project it so that the youth will know their roots and appreciate it, instead of hanging onto some foreign culture which is making most of them wayward.”

Mr Ansah described himself as the son of a photographer, dramatist and musician, adding that he is a Guan and Ahanta person who grew up with the veteran musician and the politician Gyedu Blay Ambolley and Freddie Blay, respectively, at Asaman Nsu Do in Sekondi in the Western Region.

 According to him, the atmosphere in that community could be described as a melting pot where there were various people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, such as Nigerians, Ewes and those from the northern prt of the country.

“It was really an interesting community to grow up in. Every ethnic group had its own traditional day celebration. If you were smart you could learn various languages and traditional dances and how to eat food from other ethnic groups,” he stated with a smile.

Mr Ansah said where he grew up, helped him greatly because it made him to be able to withstand all kinds of challenges. That was because his mother, who was a trader, always sent him on errands to sell her wares before or after school. Because his mum sold various items, he became a victim of that and it earned him various nicknames among his classmates, all of which he took in good faith because he said there was nothing he could do about it. 

 “I always try to make good use of any situation I find myself in and that is what every child must learn to do, since success does come on a silver platter,” he said.

Asked why he did not have an English name, he laughed and narrated the incident that led to the withdrawal of his English name. According to him, when he was a child, his school, which was a mission one, required that every pupil had an English name. He, therefore, informed his mother, who in turned went to the school and gave his name as James Kwaw Ansah. 

Meanwhile, his father, who was not around at that time, got upset upon his return to hear that his son’s friends now called him James. He, therefore, went to the school the next day and asked the headmaster to assemble all the pupils. There, he announced that his son’s name was Kwaw Painstil Ansah and not James. 

“That is how I lost my English name. James was my mother's brother's name, while Kwaw Painstil was my paternal grandfather’s name and, therefore, my father was not willing to trade it off for James. My name, Painstil, also came with its own woes, as my friends called me ‘Pencil’ instead,” he said with laughter.

Looking younger than his age, Kwaw Ansah said he was the sixth of 21 siblings and that he would be 68 in July this year. Among some of his siblings are Mrs Felicia Abban, the first Ghanaian female professional photographer and Kofi Ansah, the fashion designer. 

He started his primary education at the Anglican Primary School in Sekondi. “After sitting and passing the Common Entrance Examination, I intended to go to Ghana National College but my dream was shattered,” he added.

Asked to explain why, he said his strict father wanted him to take after him as a photographer but he also wanted to attend secondary school, especially when he had won a scholarship. Unfortunately, his father refused to grant him permission to do so. Therefore, he had no option but to read on his own and write the GCE Ordinary Level examination privately, which he passed successfully.

Young Kwaw Ansah subsequently gained employment at the United Africa Company (UAC), a Unilever firm in Ghana, where he had his basic training in textile design. After a stint with the company, he left for the States, where he pursued the GCE Advanced Level. He then gained admission to the Manchester College of Arts and then proceeded to the London Polytechnic where he studied Theatre Design.

By dint of hard work, he was given a grant by the Principal of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy to understudy film production at R.K.O. studios in Hollywood. He had his first play, The Adoption, produced off Broadway, New York, and the Columbia University. His second play, Mother's Tears, is very popular among students. It has been performed at the Drama Studio, in schools and at the Arts Centre.

Mr Ansah returned to Ghana in 1967 and worked for two years as a production assistant and set designer with the Ghana Film Industry Corporation (now GAMA Films) and as a film and radio producer with Unilever's Lintas Advertising as it was called then.

He later founded Targeted Advertising Services in 1973, followed by Film Africa Limited in 1977. His first feature film, Love Brewed in the African Pot, won a number of international awards, including the Omarou Ganda Prize for the Most Remarkable Direction and Production in line with African Realities at the Seventh Pan-African Film Festival in Ouagadougou; Jury's Special Silver Peacock Award for Feature Films at the Eighth International Film Festival of India, New Delhi, for a genuine and talented attempt to find a national and cultural identity and also the UNESCO Film Prize in France in 1985. 

He followed that with his second film, Heritage Africa, which also won several awards, including the Outstanding Film at the London Festival in 1989.

In 1995, he founded TV Africa. The station, however, started operating in 2003. For his immaculate contribution to the arts, his office is full of various awards, among them the Millennium Excellence Award, Black People of the World Award, Living Legends Award, Order of Burkina, Outstanding Personality Award and ACRAG Award.

Mr Ansah has two children with his late wife and he enjoys eating a lot of vegetables and also exercises on daily just to keep fit.



GES on Warpath

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

The Ghana Education Service (GES) is to deal ruthlessly with school authorities who take money from parents and guardians to register their children for external examinations but fail to fulfil their part of the bargain.

According to the Minister of Education, Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo, any proprietor or headmaster found wanting would be made to face the full rigours of the law.

The Minister made this pronouncement in an interview with this paper during a tour of some Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) centres in the Ga West and Ga East  Districts of the Greater Accra Region.

Mr Tetey-Enyo, who was accompanied by the Director- General of the GES, Mr Samuel Bannerman-Mensah, requested parents to support the GES and the ministry in identifying unlicensed schools so they could be closed down to avoid unnecessary pressure on parents in future.

The minister cited  the Christ the King International School in Kumasi where 106 final-year BECE candidates were not registered for this year’s examination although various sums of money had been collected from parents. “Meanwhile, the school is not accredited for the examination yet the school went ahead to collect money from the children and issued them index numbers which turned out to be fake ,” he stated.

Some of the students are said to have been expelled from various schools for indisciplined acts, while others were said to have swindled their original schools of school fees and registered for the exams at the Christ the King International School because they thought they could get away with it.

At exactly 10:38am, Mr Tettey-Enyo stopped at the  Ghanata Senior High School centre where 18 schools were writing the BECE. When the team of reporters got there, the children had already finished with the one-hour English Language Paper One (objectives) and were getting ready for the Paper Two which started at exactly 10:42 am.

The situation at the West Africa Senior High School was different. The morning papers came in late and that delayed the commencement of the English Language Paper Two. When the team got to the centre, all the candidates were outside the halls and classrooms. Some were revising their notes whiles others were chatting with their friends to while away time.

Mr Kingsford Annane, the Examination Officer for Ga East Municipality, attributed the delay of the papers to the fact that one of the vehicles that was supposed to deliver the papers had a little technical problem.

He mentioned that in all 5,670 candidates in the Ga East  Municipality were writing the examination. That involves 131 schools with 22 examination centres.

Mr Annane appealed for more policemen to help escort the papers to the various centres as some of the security personnel who had been detailed to be at post at certain examination centres were not there as at the time of the visit. “For instance, the St John’s Grammar School centre   had no policeman on duty, therefore, we have to dispatch the only one at the PRESEC, Legon centre to accompany the papers to St John’s.”

Some of the students from the private schools who were interviewed by the Junior Graphic seemed highly confident about what they wrote in the first paper. However, their colleagues from the public schools seemed uneasy and were anxious as they waited for the second paper of the day, which was Religious and Moral Education.

Profile: Hanna Tetteh (Minister of Trade)

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

Many people admire her for her eloquence and patience in explaining matters which affect individuals and society at large.Due to these exceptional qualities, she is even liked by people in the opposition parties. She is Ms Hannah Tetteh, the Minister of Trade and Industry.

In a chat with the Junior Graphic in her office, Ms Tetteh attributed her distinct qualities to the fact that communication is an important tool in every endeavour.

 “It is always important to listen and understand the point of view of others during a conversation or an interaction,” she explained.

Ms Tetteh, who is light skinned and described by many as being a Caucasian, explained that she was light-skinned because she has a Hungarian mother and a Ghanaian father who hails from Awutu-Obrachire in the Central Region.

 According to her, her father, the late Dr Emmanuel Ababio-Tetteh, and her mother, Dr (Mrs) Anna Tetteh, both medical doctors, gave birth to her on May 3, 1967 at Szeged in Hungary.

However, she started her early education in the United Kingdom where her parents had moved to work but they returned to Ghana in 1976 and she was enrolled in Class Four at the University Primary School  in Cape Coast.

She sat for the Common Entrance Examination there and gained admission to the Wesley Girls’ High School in 1978. She obtained both her GCE Ordinary and Advanced Level certificates at that school, completing in 1985. 

She entered the University of Ghana in 1986 and obtained a Bachelor of Law (LL.B) degree in 1989. Between 1989 and 1992, she studied at the Ghana School of Law in Accra and obtained a Barrister-at-Law (B.L) degree.

Sharing her experiences in the boarding house with the paper, Ms Tetteh said Wesley Girls’ was a “girlie environment” but one thing that was key was that the school focused on discipline and academic laurels.

“Though I was not an athlete, I was a good cheer leader and I participated in other social club activities and never missed entertainment segments,” she said with a smile.

Ms Tetteh, who is fond of her father and her home town of Awutu-Obrachire, said her late father was her coach.

 “He encouraged me to read widely, helped me in discussing question papers after examinations and, above all, we thrashed out various political issues,” she recollected.

 No wonder she grew up to become a giant politician.

Ms Tetteh, who is the first of four siblings, all females, shared some of her experiences at Awutu-Obrachire. According to her, her father had a vast oil palm plantation and, therefore, he always sent the children there to carry palm seedlings for planting.

“There was no negotiation at all, as it was mandatory for all of us to go to the farm to work. We worked on the coconut and orange farms as well, without complaining, because my dad wanted us to have a feel of what he went through before he became a medical doctor,” she emphasised.

Ms Tetteh was quick to add that there was beauty in a well established farm, adding, “It is always a delight to walk through the farm when finally the orange, coconut and palm trees grew and blossomed with fruits on them.”

“One important thing my dad inculcated in us was knowing our roots,” she added.

 She said because her parents had two different traditions and lifestyles, her dad ensured that they always participated in the Awubia Festival of the Awutus, during which they got the opportunity to meet their other relations.

It was this strong bond with her people which led her to win the Awutu Senya Constituency seat on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress to represent the people in Parliament from 2001 to 2004.

Ms Tetteh worked as a Legal Officer with the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) (1992-1993) and entered private legal practice with Ansa-Asare & Co. Hencil Chambers, Accra, between 1993 and 1994. She was a Legal Officer with the Commission on Human Rights & Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) between March and August 1995.

She has held the following positions with the Ghana Agro Food Company Limited —  Legal Adviser between 1995 and 1997 and Human Resource & Legal Services Manager between 1998 and 1999. 

She was also the Deputy General Manager, Administration & Legal, between January and December 2000 and General Manager, Administration & Legal, from 2005 to 2009.

She was appointed Minister for Trade and Industry in the President John Evans Atta Mills government in February 2009.

 Ms Tetteh, who is a staunch Methodist, has two children, Carla and Colin.

BECE takes off with drama

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

As expected, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) ended smoothly on Friday, but not without drama in many parts of the country.

While some candidates were able to do justice to all the 10 papers, others could not. Worse still, there were candidates who never had the opportunity to take part in the examination, although they had paid their registration fees, while some females had to fall out simply because they were pregnant. 

The very courageous ones among the pregnant went to the examination halls with their protruding stomachs to write the papers. 

On a rather sad note, there were some registered candidates who did not turn up to write the exams because they passed away before the commencement of the exams.

Most of the centres received their question papers on time, while others did not. For those centres which did not receive their papers on time, there were times when the candidates left the centres between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

In the Nkoranza District in the Brong Ahafo Region, for instance, it was reported that eight female candidates who wrote their papers at the Yefri Junior High School Centre were pregnant but they went to write their papers.

That came to light when the Nkoranza District Director of Education and the Public Relations Officer of the directorate, Nana Adu Baffoe Adade, visited the five centres in the district to monitor the examination.

Reports reaching the Ghana Education Service (GES) indicated that at the Nkoranza Secondary Technical School Centre, seven candidates were said to have absented themselves without any reason, while a female candidate, Rebecca Kyeremaa of the Akuma District Assembly Junior High School Centre, was reported to have died on February 27, this year when her school was conducting its mock examination.

The situation was not different in Swedru in the Central Region where four female candidates who wrote the exams at the various centres were found to be pregnant. Two of them wrote the exams while the others absented themselves.

There was a tremendous increase in the number of candidates who wrote the BECE in the Northern Region. A report by the Northern Regional Director of Education, Madam Elizabeth A. Desuza, and the Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Sumani Nanyina, indicated that last year 14,462 candidates sat for the examination, while this year over 21,662 took part. 

At the Business Senior High School Examination Centre, it was reported that a female candidate could not write the examination because she was delivered of a baby.

According to Madam Desuza, the increase in the number of candidates for this year was due to the introduction of the capitation grant that helped to retain students in school

The GES also ruled that it was impossible for the 106 students of the Christ the King Junior High School (JHS) at Ayigya in Kumasi whose head teacher failed to register them for this year's BECE to write the examination. 

The Kumasi Metropolitan Director of Education, Mrs Gladys Amaning, made it known that the students had been technically ruled out of writing the West African Examinations Council (WAEC)-organised examination, since they did not have continuous assessment and registration and index numbers which were mandatory requirements for the BECE.

She said following the alleged misappropriation of the registration fees of the students by the school authorities, the GES, in collaboration with the parents of the affected students and stakeholders, held an emergency meeting to deliberate on the issue and reached a consensus that the affected students be distributed among some schools in the metropolis to enable them to register for next year's examination. 

According to the GES, the head teacher and the proprietor of the school who misappropriated the students' registration fees had been remanded into prison custody by a circuit court in Kumasi.