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           Home > IDP Rising Schools > Education Stakeholders Meeting > 2011 Speaker Biographies

    Education Stakeholders Meeting Speaker Biographies

    Honourable Mahama Ayariga, Deputy Minister (Tertiary), Ghana Ministry of Education

    Honourable Mahama Ayariga is the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of the Tertiary Sector of the Republic of Ghana. He has also served as the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and as the Spokesperson of His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills, President of the Republic of Ghana. From 2005 to 2009 Honourable Ayariga was Member of the Parliament of Ghana representing the Bawku Central constituency.

    Born on the 12th May 1974 in Bawku in the Upper East Region of Ghana, Honourable Ayariga is 37 years of age and received most of his early education in Ghana and Nigeria where he attended Barewa College in Zaira in Kaduna State, Nigeria. He holds a Master of Law (LLM) degree from Harvard Law School in the United States of America and a Bachelor of Law (LLB) Degree from University of Ghana, Legon. He is also a Barrister at Law with a practicing law certificate from the Ghana School of Law.

    Honourable Ayariga started his career as a Teaching Assistant in Natural Resources Law and International Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana and was subsequently the Executive Director of the Legal Resources Centre, which he co-founded to promote human rights, community development and social justice.

    Stephen Adu, Director of Basic Education Division, Ghana Education Service

    Mr. Stephen Adu serves as GES' Director of Basic Education and Acting Deputy Director-General. He is a teacher by profession and started his career in education in 1977. After several years of teaching, he moved to Teacher Education Division in GES, where he was a key architect of the Untrained Teachers' Diploma in Basic Education Programme (UTDBE). He also worked with JICA to support in-service teacher training in the area of Science, Mathematics and Technology with a focus on quality in education. Mr. Adu was posted to Basic Education in 2007 where he has worked on a number of projects, such as the School Report Card aimed at collecting process data, and with UNICEF on Early Childhood Development and School Mapping. More recently he has been involved in the development of the Complementary Basic Education Framework to ensure effective collaboration between GES and innovative complementary models, such as the School for Life program.

    Julius Agbeko, Acting Country Representative, Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership

    Mr. Julius Agbeko is the acting country representative for Discovery Channel's Global Education Partnership. Mr. Agbeko has many years' experience as a trainer, tutor, facilitator, and manager working across education, health, environment and science sectors. In his current role, he trains teachers in using the DCGEP equipment, provides pedagogical support, monitors and mentors teachers, and also serves as the organization's spokesperson and head of operations here in Ghana. Mr. Agbeko embraces the idea of innovative interventions to ease and improve both teaching and learning.

    Seth Odame Baiden, Director, Ghana Education Staff Development Institute

    Mr. Seth Odame Baiden brings a wealth of knowledge on teacher education and professional development. He has worked at Ghana Education Service for more than 20 years and is currently the Director of the Ghana Education Staff Development Institute (GESDI) in Saltpond. At the same time, Mr. Baiden is the national coordinator for the UNESCO Teacher Training Initiative of Sub-Saharan Africa. Originally trained in agricultural science, Seth moved into public policy and strategic management with a focus on education in his post-graduate years, earning a Masters and several certificates. He has participated and led many workshops all over the world, and has published several books, including circuit supervisors' handbooks, mentorship guides and other materials extremely significant to the development of effective education systems.

    Dr. Josiah A.M. Cobbah, Head of Administration and Principal Lecturer, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration

    Dr. Josiah A. M. Cobbah is a Principal Lecturer in Governance, Leadership and Management at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. With more than 30 years' experience in education in both Ghana and the United States, Dr. Cobbah brings a wealth of knowledge and connections as the Chairman of the IDP Rising Schools Program's Teacher Training Advisory Board. Currently, Dr. Cobbah teaches courses like business ethics, governance, leadership and social responsibility while consulting for various agencies on management and research. A barrister-at-law and juris doctor, Dr. Cobbah also has PhD, Master's and Bachelor's degrees in geography with diverse concentrations.

    Mr. Tirso Dos Santos, Acting Country Representative, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

    Mr. Tirso Dos Santos is the Acting Country Representative for UNESCO's West Africa Cluster Office, based here in Accra. Mr. Dos Santos has more than 30 years experience working in education across sub-Saharan Africa. He was trained as a teacher in Mozambique, and went on to become the National Director for Teacher Education at the Ministry of Education. Mr. Dos Santos then moved on to work as a program specialist in education with UNESCO in Zimbabwe, where he worked for 16 years. Since 2009, he has been working in Ghana and across West Africa on UNESCO's education programs and policy issues. Mr. Dos Santos holds a Masters of Education from the London University, with a focus on distance education, and has several other post-graduate diplomas in diverse areas of education, management and evaluation. He is the author or co-author of several UNESCO policy publications, teacher training manuals, case studies and even a textbook for SHS students in Mozambique.

    Mr. Ernest Senyo Dzandu, Executive Director, CDC Consult, Ltd.

    Mr. Ernest Senyo Dzandu is a development and management consultant who has worked over the past fifteen years in the areas of training, research, entrepreneurship and small business development, financial management advisory service, and accountancy. Specific sectors of interest and experience include education, microfinance, tourism and agribusiness. He has led several research assignments and studies over the years in the various sectors. In the area of education he has led a study to assess demand for finance and advisory services among private schools in Ghana (2007), facilitated the design and delivery of training in finance and related subjects for owners and staff of private schools, and facilitated the development of business plans for over 50 private schools, including 20 low-income private schools. He has recently (2010) led a team of research and financial consultants to conduct market research on access to finance and business advisory service by low income private schools in Ghana. The research sponsored by the IFC and its partners covered 136 basic schools selected from 80 low-income communities, 105 parents, 18 financial institutions and 22 business development services providers.

    Ernest is a Chartered Accountant and has an MBA degree in Finance. He is the Executive Director of CDC Consult, an Accra based development, management and training consulting firm. He provides leadership, quality control and backstopping on assignments undertaken by the firm. In the specific sector of education the firm provides research and outsourced accounting and personnel management services.

    Mr. Kofi Essien, Program Director, Open Learning Exchange

    Mr. Kofi Essien is a seasoned educational technologist having served in various capacities in the education sector, including being a senior school administrator and a classroom practitioner for 18 years. He has taught briefly at different levels in several Danish schools.

    Since 2000, he has trained, worked with and supported teachers in the use of innovative and current teaching practices through programs such as the World Bank-supported World Links for Development program, the UK Video Trust's Fiankoma project and Intel's INTEL-Teach program. Mr. Essien also worked briefly with the Teacher Educators in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) program, which supports teacher educators and teachers in the sub-region with quality professional development materials.

    For two years he worked with the UNICT Task Force founded Global eSchools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) as its Country Program Analyst, a period which saw him work very closely with the ICT for Education Unit of the Ministry of Education in Ghana. Currently Mr. Essien is a Director at Open Learning Exchange Ghana, a local NGO which is part of a larger network of sister NGOs working to help countries they operate in achieve quality universal basic education by 2015.

    Dr. Rachel Hinton, Human Development Advisor, UK Department for International Development

    Dr. Rachel Hinton is an Adviser at the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), currently based in Accra, Ghana. Her DFID posts include social development work in the Balkans, policy work on the UK Girls Education Strategy and work on PRSPs in Nepal. She previously held an honorary Fellowship at Edinburgh University where she was a lecturer in Social Anthropology. She has particular expertise in the field of refugees, social protection and education. She is the editor of articles on issues of inclusive aid, participation, and methodologies for research with children. She has worked with inter-governmental and non-governmental agencies, and has field experience in Nepal, India, Tanzania and Ghana. Before joining DFID she worked on the 'Partnership in Action' initiative with UNHCR. She led ethnographic research in collaboration with Rugmark and the private sector on child labor - affiliated with Tribuvian University, Kathmandu.

    Mr. Christian Koramoah, Financial Controller, Ghana Education Service

    Mr. Christian Koramoah is currently the Acting Financial Controller of the Ghana Education Service. For the last nine years he has played a major financial management role at Ghana Education Service, an organization that controls the largest portion of Ghana's national budget. His main areas of focus at GES are preparation of educational budgets and periodic financial reports, payroll management, organization of trainings and workshops, delivering training to educational accountants, monitoring of budget implementation by regional district and headquarters divisional directorates of education, project coordination, liaising with the Internal Audit, and advising on policy formulation on education finance.

    Mr. Koramoah also has considerable experience in program management and strategic planning. He has in-depth knowledge in educational planning and has been involved in the preparation of Resource Allocation Formula for the allocation of funds to the headquarters, regional and district directorates of Ghana Education Service. He is in the process of earning a doctorate degree in education (with emphasis on Educational Finance) from the University of Sussex in United Kingdom.

    Mr. Kafui Prebbie, Chief Executive Officer, TechAide

    Mr. Kafui A. Prebbie is the CEO of TechAide, a social enterprise that designs, develops and delivers IT solutions to rural Africa in the form of computer labs, community ICT centres, mobile/sms products, and solar solutions. Mr. Prebbie formerly directed oneVillage Foundation, an organization that extensively utilizes technology for rural development and capacity building projects. Mr. Prebbie has also worked extensively as an ICT administrator, advisor and consultant for various organizations including University of Education at Winneba-Ghana, Plan International-Ghana, Students Bridging the Information Gap-USA, and the International Institute for Communication and Development-Netherlands.

    Mr. Colin McElwee, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Worldreader

    Mr. Colin McElwee is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Worldreader. Following a first degree in Economics at the University of Manchester, he entered the world of several Brussels lobbies to the European Commission as an Economist. A career in marketing and sales in consumer goods followed before emigrating from the UK to Spain to pursue an MBA at the ESADE Business School in Barcelona. A global marketing role upon graduation, at Scottish & Newcastle PLC offered the opportunity for brand development in a number of developing countries in Africa and Latin America. He then returned to his alma mater, ESADE, as its first Director of Marketing and contributed to establishing the school as a globally recognized business education provider. Colin is a Non-Executive Director of St. Ignasi School of Tourism and the British Chamber of Commerce, speaks English and Spanish and continues to study Catalan.

    Mrs. Irene D. Pritzker, President, IDP Foundation, Inc.

    Irene Pritzker became a founding member and President of the IDP Foundation, Inc. in 2008. The mission of the IDP Foundation is to mobilize resources and strategic support to improve the quality of life for those in need.

    In creating the IDP Foundation, Inc., Irene Pritzker hopes to embrace and facilitate the creation of truly groundbreaking programs that address the world's most menacing dilemmas. Exemplifying this goal is the IDP Rising Schools Program, a microfinance venture targeting existing but very poor private schools in Ghana.

    Irene Pritzker has presented the work of the IDP Rising Schools Program within the United Nations at events sponsored by the UN Office for Partnerships, UN Development Program, UN Economic and Social Council and the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in addition to frequently appearing as a featured panelist in other forums. In 2010, Mrs. Pritzker was honored with the Global Philanthropy Award during the World Democracy Forum in New York City for her work with the IDP Rising Schools Program.

    Mrs. Pritzker is a Trustee of the Foreign Policy Association as well as being actively involved in many Chicago community initiatives. Mrs. Pritzker is also a Managing Director of the IML Group, LLC, a Chicago based family investment office. She was trained as a teacher at The University of Western Australia and also holds a Master of Arts Degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago.

    Ms. Harmandip Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, Resident Coordinator, United Nations Development Programme

    Ms. Harmandip Ruby Sandhu-Rojon is the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative at the UN Office. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Sandhu-Rojon was the Country Director in Burkina Faso (2007-2010). During this period, she performed the role of Resident Representative ad interim for nine months during the crucial period of the legislative elections in Burkina Faso. From 2004-2006 she was Chief of the Africa Section UNV, in Bonn. For two years (2002-2004), she was a Senior Evaluation Adviser in the UNDP Evaluation Office, New York and she served as Deputy Resident Representative in Madagascar from 1999-2002. Between 1997 and 1999, Ms. Sandhu-Rojon was Special Assistant to the Administrator, Office of the Administrator, New York. She spent several years with UNIFEM (1987-1997), as a Regional Officer in Senegal and subsequently as Program Officer of the Africa Section in New York.

    Ms. Sandhu-Rojon is one of the champions for the Regional Bureau for Africa on climate change and has been able to lead the Burkina Faso Country Office in the development of proposals for the MDG Carbon Facility with one of the proposals approved in the due diligence process and a Letter of Agreement signed with Fortis Bank. She also secured an agreement from Headquarters to participate in Direct Budget Support through sector wide funding. UNDP Burkina Faso is the first country office globally, to date, to have attained this approval and our experience is serving as an example to develop the guidance note. Ms. Sandhu-Rojon holds a MSc. in Russian Politics from the London School of Economics, UK, and a BA in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College, USA. Ruby speaks fluent French and English.

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