Marian Jemima Akua Adzroe: Breaking the ceiling in education
WHEN she assumed duty on April 15, 2020 as the General Manager of the Evangelical Presbyterian (E.P.) Schools, Ghana, Mrs Marian Jemima Akua Adzroe also made history as the first female to take up that role in the past 74 years.
Marian, as she prefers to be called, has since been on record as someone who never turns up late for work.
She is also the Founder and Director of Erijem Institute, a vocational school in Ho, which has trained more than 100 students in cake decoration, balloon and floral design, and catering in the past 11 years.
In a chat with The Mirror on Monday (September 12, 2023), Marian said the E.P. Education Unit which is a management unit of the Ghana Education Service (GES), has 740 schools, including one University College, six senior high schools and two technical vocational schools, and 731 basic schools in the country.
Marian designed the first curriculum in cake decoration and sugar craft for the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI), in addition to balloon and floral design which was piloted for five years in her school.
As a former product of Swedru Secondary School in the Central Region, she had the opportunity to enter St Teresa College of Education at Hohoe in the Volta Region and came out successfully as a teacher in 1996
After teaching for four years in primary schools in Anfoeta and Ho, she gained admission to the University of Ghana for a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Marian later returned to Ho after her graduation to teach Literature in English at Mawuli Junior High School.
Marian continued to the University of Cape Coast in the Central Region a few years later to pursue a programme in Master of Education in Administration, and then Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Administration in Higher Education.
She rose through the ranks and became the Director of Education.
She is the daughter of the Paramount Chief of Tsrukpe Traditional Area; Togbe Sasraku II, a retired banker and farmer, and Augusta Boateng, a midwife.
The fourth of 20 children, Marian said she was brought up to respect every human being, to be obedient to authority and be hard working always, by her extended family members who also imparted Christian values in her right from the cradle.
TM: Do you still adhere to those values?
Marian: All the time. Those values inspired me to introduce the Regional Managers Retreat to build the capacity of regional managers of E.P. Schools in 12 regions across the country.
I have also introduced the ‘Annual Magazine E.P. Church Education Unit’ to report on the progress and challenges of our schools. Currently we are working on our website which will be ready soon.
TM: You are also the National President of the Conference of Managers of Education Units, and the Vice Chairman of the Conference of Directors of Education in the Volta Region. Your responsibilities are many. How do you handle all these roles?
Marian: Every assignment starts with planning. I have a diary for every specific activity, and sometimes I plan weeks ahead of the job.
TM: What is your most cherished achievement since you assumed the role of General Manager of E.P. Schools, Ghana?
Marian: I have branded the unit with community training programmes whereby we go to the communities to involve not only the teachers, but also the local managers, parent-teacher associations, school management committees and other stakeholders in supporting the development of the schools.
TM: Do you have time for other activities outside work?
Marian: I am a patron of the Israel Group of the Dela Parish of the E.P. Church, Ghana and a member of the Bible Class. I cherish my spiritual life. I was the first female President of the Rotary Club of Ho serving from 2009 to 2010. I have been a member of the Rotary Club for 10 years before becoming President.
TM: What is the secret behind your success story?
Marian: First, the grace of God. I must also say my husband; Dr Eric Adzroe, who is a construction management expert, my parents, my strong extended family and good friends are also supportive of every noble course I pursue.
TM: Your subordinates often say you are very strict.
Marian: I believe in working hard for success. Once there is a job to be done, it must be executed properly. This means people must be punctual to work, stay on the job and perform their duty with great zeal and enthusiasm.
TM: You are always breaking the gender bias, making an impact in areas dominated by men.
Marian: Hmmm. We have women serving as generals in the army, women flying aircrafts and women playing football. This is a testimony to the fact that whatever men can do, women can also do, if not better.
TM: As a member of the royal family, did you enjoy wealth from your childhood?
Marian: Hahaha. No. I was brought up with love and human values but not wealth. I was also taught to be determined and focused with my dreams. I have grown to appreciate the fact that service to mankind is service to God and that is the source of my joy.
TM: Did your journey to success encounter any challenges?
Marian: Yes. Fighting with men for leadership roles is not easy. Managing people is not easy, and when I was going to school I encountered some financial constraints, but just as I told you earlier, determination and faith in God keeps one going forward.
TM: What are your hobbies?
Marian: I love listening and dancing to any good music. I love gardening and decorating cakes.
TM: What is your favourite food?
Marian: Any meal prepared with yam.
TM: What else do you speak apart from English?
Marian: Ewe, Twi, Ga and Guan.
TM: As a role model to many young people, what message do you have for the youth?
Marian: Once you embark on a good path to serve humanity, do not give up.