Defining perseverance to becoming a top scholar


…Prof. Edward Appiah on Y Leaderboard Series

Professor Edward Appiah, Director-General of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA), made an impressive appearance on the first episode of the 2023 edition of YFM’s Y Leaderboard Series with host Rev. Erskine.

Prof. Edward Appiah shared his early childhood and humble beginnings as he persevered to become one of the country’s best brains. Growing up, Mr. Appiah disclosed he had a passion for architecture, but with the encouragement of his uncle, he shifted his focus to arts and design.

As tough as the experience of losing a parent at an early age could come, Mr. Appiah highlighted his early days staying with distant relatives as he barely got much of an opportunity to live with his parents. He recounted staying with his uncle who influenced his educational direction to pursue his best craft.

“I was going to secondary school and at the time, I wanted to do architecture. But he said no, I couldn’t abandon the design and do solely architecture. Of course, architecture involved design, but he felt I would do well in the design space. So even though I went for the interview for architecture, I also went for the arts and design because you would post two courses at the time,” he narrated.

A year later, his uncle checked in and asked him which direction he wanted to pursue. Prof. Appiah realised that he was thriving in the arts and design field and decided to stick with it. For him, those experiences exposed him to the significance of mentorship as a young individual.

The educationist’s journey to becoming one of the country’s best scholars was filled with challenges and unexpected twists during his humble beginnings. His admission to Fijai SHS, he described as an accident. Despite the difficulties he faced, he was determined to make the most of his opportunities – working hard to excel in his studies.

As a young student, Mr. Appiah was shy and kept to himself, but his experiences in secondary school helped him come out of his shell. He was a member of the Scripture Union and a chorister, which allowed him to showcase his talent as a singer and gain recognition. Despite the loss of his mother at a young age, her words of encouragement and push for him to achieve good grades stayed with him and motivated him to do better.

“My mom died when I was a kid, but I still remember some of the moments I had with her. My mother was a woman who always wanted to push you to higher heights. She taught me some of the things in the scripture and always told me to get good grades. Even though I didn’t stick with her for long, her words were with me and I encouraged myself I could always do better,” he said.

After finishing his studies at KNUST, the now NaCCA boss said he worked for two years before pursuing his Master’s, hoping to secure a job in the school. However, when he was unable to do so, he decided to set up his own design studio. Despite this setback, Mr. Appiah did not give up, and he eventually returned to the school as a technical instructor. Over time, he was recognised for his skills and expertise, and was eventually converted to a lecturer.

When Appiah was unable to secure scholarships for further studies, he was forced to consider other options, including South Africa, where he later studied at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Referencing his time studying in South Africa and how he put in the effort to succeed, even sacrificing his social life, he expressed how determined he was to finish his programme on time. However, despite his best efforts, he faced a major setback when he lost his sister, which delayed his completion of the programme by four months.

“I didn’t have a social life when I schooled in S.A; and we know over there, party lifestyle is on another level. My friends wanted me one time and they were not finding me, so they called around 5:30 and they were surprised to know I was still in school on a Friday.

“I was just bent on finishing on time as I had left my family in Ghana. It was something that I challenged myself to do. I have to say I didn’t get to finish exactly three years. There were about four months more, and that happened because I lost my sister getting to the end. We were three children – myself being the first, my younger brother who died early, and my sister – who passed during the time. I got the news from my wife while I was at a conference in Liverpool. So I came to Ghana, stayed for months and that delayed me finishing my programme.”

He stated that things do not come easily in life and that one has to work hard and exude resilience to achieve their goals. “Things don’t come on a silver platter. If you want it, you have to pursue it, and you’re not going to get it easy. Struggle and get it; and when you get it it’s always worth it,” he alluded.

In conclusion, Professor Edward Appiah’s journey to becoming a top scholar is a testament to the power of perseverance. Despite the many challenges and setbacks he faced, he remained determined to succeed, and his hard work and dedication paid off. His story is an inspiration to anyone who is struggling to achieve their goals, reminding us that with hard work and persistence, anything is possible.

“We’re proud to relaunch another amazing edition of the Y Leaderboard Series, touted Ghana’s most innovative and inspiring career modelling programme geared toward youth empowerment and helping them reach their full potential. We are privileged to have hosted Professor Edward Appiah in the house and hopefully, we get to experience more insightful conversations,” Programmes Manager of Y 107.9 FM, Eddy Blay Jr. remarked.

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