Thursday, 18 April

Ghana’s Mary Ashun named Top 10 finalist for Africa Education Medal 2023

Ghana’s Mary Ashun, Principal of Ghana International School (GIS)

Founded by T4 Education and HP in collaboration with Microsoft, the Africa Education Medal is Africa’s most prestigious education accolade.

Ghana’s Mary Ashun, Principal of Ghana International School (GIS), has been named as a Top 10 finalist for the Africa Education Medal 2023. Founded last year by T4 Education and HP in collaboration with Microsoft, the Africa Education Medal is Africa’s most prestigious education accolade.

The Africa Education Medal was established to recognise the tireless work of those who are transforming education across the continent – to celebrate the stories of those who have lit the spark of change so others will be inspired to take up the torch. It is given to an outstanding individual who has demonstrated impact, leadership, and advocacy in the field of education.

Mary Ashun is Principal of Ghana International School (GIS), an independent not-for-profit school that provides an internationally diverse experience which instils mutual understanding, promotes holistic development, and teaches life skills to produce responsible global citizens.

Projects she has championed through GIS include support for students from under-equipped schools, teacher training and resource capacity building in remote villages, collaborative international educator visits as well as fostering student efforts to be innovative in the Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Ashun advocates for all children, especially the marginalised in education. In March 2021, she learned about a young man who sat entrance exams and gained admission to the most prestigious public boarding school in Ghana. On checking in to his dormitory he was denied entry because he had dreadlocks. Dr. Ashun wrote a paper titled “The Issue of the Other When it Comes to Admissions” and published it on Ghanaweb. The ensuing heated national discourse on whether a Rastafarian student could be denied his place in a public boarding school put her opinion and that of others of like minds at the centre of a national debate. While the issue raged on in the court of law, a group of committed GIS parents worked with her and a scholarship was arranged for him. She admitted the student in question to GIS, making a statement of inclusion and acceptance. In advocating for his right to an education irrespective of his religion, she showed her students the power of their voices and the need to live out the school motto of ‘Understanding Of Each Other’.

Prior to joining GIS, Dr. Ashun was a school principal in Canada and also taught Sciences and Maths from K – 12 and lectured at Redeemer University (Ontario) in the Faculty of Education, teaching and supervising pre-service and in-service teachers.

Dr. Ashun created a teacher conference called TIME (Teachers, Inspiring, Motivating & Empowering). At these conferences, researcher teachers are able to share their action research, master teachers share strategies that work well in different kinds of classrooms, and administrator teachers share insights relating to parent engagement, supporting teacher growth and self-care for educators. Each year, a fifth of the spaces are reserved for educators from underserved regions.

As Chair of the Mastercard Foundation Young Africa Works Advisory Board, Dr. Ashun has been a panellist on EdTech Mondays, a programme that showcases technological innovation in schools. This is streamed online and is a key component of Mastercard Foundation’s drive to make learning relevant and accessible across Africa.

Her work with the African Leadership Academy and the Anzisha Fellowship also allows her to mentor the next generation of African entrepreneur educators. Through the programme she has mentored educators from Algeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria, and Congo, sharing her experiences with them as they transform education in refugee communities or innovate with micro-schools in North Africa.

Mayank Dhingra, Senior Education Business Leader, Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa, at HP said:

 “My warmest congratulations to Mary Ashun on being named a Top 10 finalist for the Africa Education Medal 2023. Her tireless work to improve education stands as an inspiration to us all and I hope many others will follow in her footsteps to become leaders in the field.

 “HP has a bold goal to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people globally by 2030. Only by joining forces and aligning with NGOs, government, educators and businesses can we truly improve the education environment. The Africa Education Medal brings together all those who are changing the face of African education, whose vital work deserves to be celebrated.”

 Vikas Pota, Founder and CEO of T4 Education, said:

 “Africa’s teachers and school leaders, and its leaders of governments, NGOs and businesses, all play a crucial part in unlocking the continent’s potential through quality education. African education stands at a crossroads in the wake of the pandemic, but if leaders from across the continent in every field can work together then they can build the lasting change needed.

“I congratulate Mary Ashun on her achievements in leading Ghana International School and I hope her success serves as a rallying cry for changemakers to come forward and make a difference.”

The Top 10 finalists for the Africa Education Medal are:

Mary Ashun, Principal of Ghana International School, Ghana Laura Kakon, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer of Honoris United Universities, Morocco Rogers Kamugisha, Country Director of Educate!, Rwanda Grace Matlhape, CEO of SmartStart, South Africa Mary Metcalfe, former policymaker and CEO of Programme to Improve Learning Outcomes (PILO), South Africa Martha Muhwezi, Executive Director of FAWE, Uganda Jean-Claude Nkulikiyimfura, Executive Director of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, Rwanda Simi Nwogugu, CEO of JA Africa, Nigeria Sara Ruto, Former Chief Administrative Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Education and former CEO of PAL Network, Kenya Snehar Shah, CEO of Moringa School, Kenya

Nominations for the Africa Education Medal opened in February 2023 for individuals working to improve pre-kindergarten, K-12, vocational and university education who are either educators, school administrators, civil society leaders, public servants, government officials, political leaders, technologists, or innovators.

The winner of the Africa Education Medal will be announced in July. Finalists will be assessed by a Jury comprising prominent individuals based on rigorous criteria.


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Source: Ghana Education Medal 2023