GIS Principal named top-10 finalist for Africa Education Medal 2023


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

Dr. 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 those 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 into 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 mind 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 ‘Understanding Of Each Other’.

Prior to joining GIS, Dr. Ashun was a school principal in Canada and taught Sciences and Math from K – 12, and also 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, thus 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,” said Vikas Pota, Founder and CEO of T4 Education.

“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,
● 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,
● 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 Africa Education Medal winner will be announced in July. Finalists will be assessed by a Jury comprising prominent individuals chosen on the basis of rigorous criteria.

Leave a Reply