29
Thu, Sep

Samuel Ofori-Adjei : A teacher with a difference

At a very young age, he was skillful in making simple household furniture such as tables, chairs and stools because he received practical lessons from his father who was a master carpenter.

Every day after school and mostly during vacations while he was in the primary and middle school, he would go to his father’s workshop and assist him and his apprentices.

Consequently, he developed the desire to enter a technical school to fulfil his dream to become a skillful artisan who also had formal training in that field.

However, that dream became a tug-of-war between him and his mother. She wanted him to go to the teacher training college to fulfil her wish of becoming a teacher if she had attended school.

“I wanted to go to a technical school because I thought I was more technically inclined,” Mr Samuel Ofori-Adjei, the Headmaster of Accra Academy, said as he narrated his true life story to the Junior Graphic.

“My mother told me, ‘Kwasi, if I were educated, I would have been a teacher so my wish is for you to become a teacher so that my dream which I couldn’t fulfill will still be attained through you.”

According to Mr Ofori-Adjei, it took him a long time to accept to fulfil his mother’s desire because he was bent on doing something more technical.

“However, finally I had to give in and go to the training college”.

Despite his success in the Common Entrance Examination in Form Two, Young Ofori-Adjei could not enter secondary school because of financial challenges. He, therefore, continued in elementary school until he completed Form Four after which he worked for some years to raise money for his education. His elder sister was the one who took care of him and his siblings.

Finally when he was ready to go back to school, he had admission offers from three different schools at the same time. These were the Koforidua Technical Institute, Ghana Secondary School and the Jasikan Training College. He opted to go to the training college to make his mother happy by becoming a teacher.   

Schooling

Mr Ofori-Adjei had his primary and middle school education at the AME Zion School at Hohoe in the Volta Region where he was born although his parents hailed from Anum in the Eastern Region. He was always among the top three students during that period of his education

His father was both a farmer and a carpenter and had cocoa farms in the Nkonya area in the Volta Region.

“When we were young, he could take us from Hohoe, where he was stationed as a master carpenter with more than 40 apprentices, to his cocoa farm to work”.

Unfortunately, his father died when he was only 15 but because his dad challenged him to go to school even though he himself (dad) did not have formal education, he took his studies seriously to make his father proud though his father was dead.

After the passing of his father, the onus fell on his elder sister, who was about 23 years and had just qualified as a midwife, to provide for the family. The entire family, seven siblings and their mother, had to leave Hohoe and live with his elder sister who was then working in Koforidua.

Obviously, this was a herculean task for his elder sister because her salary could not take care of the whole family. As a result, at age 17, Young Ofori-Adjei had to start working at the expense of his education since that could rake in some additional money for the family.

Without any formal secondary education, Young Ofori-Adjei successfully passed the GCE Ordinary Level Examination while in the training college. A year after completing his training as a teacher, he wrote and passed his GCE Advanced Level after which he was posted to teach for four years at the Presbyterian Middle School at Adeiso.

During the period, he helped support his younger brothers and sisters and later studied for a Diploma in English at the University of Education, Winneba. That gave him the opportunity to be posted to Abuakwa State College as a teacher of English and Literature in 1985.

He decided to pursue a degree course at the University of Ghana, Legon to study English Language, Linguistics and Psychology since he had the requisite entry qualifications after the GCE O and A level certificates he had obtained earlier.  After graduation, he taught for some years and returned to the University of Ghana to pursue a Master’s programme in Public Administration.

With his new qualification, some companies wrote asking him to attend interviews so he could work with them but in spite of the opportunity to move into other areas of endeavour, Mr Ofori-Adjei decided to stay in the teaching field and with the Ghana Education Service.

He stated: “I decided to rather concentrate on teaching and be one of the best so when a few companies wrote to me for interviews I refused to attend the interviews”.

While continuing his work with the GES, he was posted to the Inspectorate Division of the Ga District Office in Amasaman for about two years. It was at Amasaman that he applied for the position of a teacher of English at the Ebenezer Secondary School, Dansoman, Accra in 1996 and was successful.

He rose to the position of Assistant Headmaster (Administration) in 1997 and became headmaster in 2002.

He was later appointed the Headmaster of Accra Academy (May 2005). Mr Ofori-Adjei rose through the ranks by dint of hard work to become the President of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) in 2007, after he had served as the Greater Accra Regional CHASS President.

Having ended his tenure as CHASS President in 2015, Mr Ofori-Adjei was elected the President of the African Confederation of Principals (ACP), a position he still holds.