From 4Fs in WASSCE to Earning PhD from a UK University: The Uplifting Story of a Ghanaian Scholar

From 4Fs in WASSCE to Earning PhD from a UK University: The Uplifting Story of a Ghanaian Scholar

  • George Asiamah is a Ghanaian from Atwima Chichibong in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, where he received his early education and first degree
  • After junior high school, he proceeded to Atwimaman Secondary School, achieving 4Fs and 3Es in the SSCE, present-day WASSCE
  • Asiamah has risen from a poor-performing student to earning his PhD from the University of Sheffield in the UK

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Born in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, George Asiamah received his early education in his native country before relocating to the UK to earn his doctoral degree.

He grew up and lived predominantly in Atwima Chichibong, a small village in the region. He received his early and some tertiary education in the region.

Former KNUST earns his PhD in the UK.
Photo of George Asiamah. Credit: George Asiamah.
Source: Facebook

George Asiamah's difficult childhood and academic journey

The journey to gleaning a PhD was not on a platter, as Asiamah had to overcome childhood inadequacies to achieve his academic goals. The turbulent years included attaining unimpressive grades in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

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Asiamah attended Afrancho/Chichibong Junior High School, where he earned an aggregate of 22 in 2000. He would later face an impediment in his quest to further his education as none of the schools he had applied to admitted him due to the poor result.

He recalls heeding a relative's advice to return to Atwimaman Secondary School, now Afua Kobi Senior High School, after all the schools he selected rejected him, including Atwimaman Secondary School, for making the establishment his third choice.

''So the next day, we went to meet the senior housemaster of the school, as advised. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was admitted but as a day student,'' he shared on Facebook.

Initially, he had wanted to pursue General Science, but his uncle advised he studies Business. ''So I opted for the latter ... My uncle has also done me a favour by buying me a new bicycle to help ease my commute. [It was] enough incentive to be regular in school''.

Asiamah recalls on his first day in class, he met colleagues with different academic backgrounds and worse grades, making the scores he attained in the BECE less embarrassing. He was among 10 students made to join some General Arts students for a combined class due to their common subjects.

George Asiamah faces another disadvantage

In his first year, his attendance was impressive, coupled with a laudable performance, but he soon faced a hurdle that would submerge his desire to study and excel.

Toward the end of the first year, authorities in his senior high school informed the Business students they would cancel their programme the following academic year. The business students were asked to search for schools during the vacation to be transferred to continue their studies.

''The next academic year began, and here I came, the only business student who didn't get into a new school. I didn't get the communication proper. I thought my school was looking for a new school for us. So coming to my second year, I was forced to join the General Arts class,'' he recalled.

It affected his behaviour and desire to study, causing him to revisit his old truant self. ''I no longer stay home for weeks but for months. One could practically count the number of days I will be in school in a term. Funnily, any day my friends see me coming to class, they would shout 'Ebon! Ebon!' (teasing me with the name of my village). Others will ask jokingly, enti school no wo ka ho?' Are you part of the school?).''

Former KNUST student earns PhD.
Photo of George Asiamah. Credit: George Asiamah.
Source: Facebook

George Asiamah pursues higher education despite his poor WASSCE results

When the results of his Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE), present-day WASSCE, emerged in 2003, Asiamah achieved 4Fs and 3Es. He described his grades as a ''disgrace''.

George Asiamah's SSCE results.
George Asiamah's SSCE results. Credit: George Asiamah.
Source: Facebook

Despite his abysmal performance, he navigated his teenage inadequacy to graduate with a degree in Economics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). While at the university, he served as the President of the Economics Students’ Association and as a Teaching Assistant from 2013-2014 after graduating before securing a Commonwealth Scholarship to study MSc Sustainable Development at The Queen's University of Belfast from 2014-2015.

He enrolled in the University of Sheffield for Interdisciplinary PhD in Sustainability Science and Public Policy on full scholarship. After years of swotting, he recently defended his thesis at the establishment.

''Before his PhD, he served as Research and Policy Analyst for the SEED Centre, a non-profit organisation that champions rural sustainability and local economic development in Ghana,'' said Sheffield.

Asiamah, 34, will officially graduate with a doctoral degree in June-September 2003 (Summer) after overcoming his childhood difficulties from failing his senior high school education to earning his PhD in the UK.

''My graduation is summer of next year. My advice to young people; they should have a goal, surround themselves with the right people. Those with knowledge and experience, focus, and persevere,'' he told
KNUST alumnus bags PhD.
Photos of George Asiamah. Credit: George Asiamah/
Source: Facebook

Visually Impaired Ghanaian who Defied Odds to Graduate with Master's Pursuing PhD

Meanwhile, previously reported that Despite his visual impairment, Ghanaian Gerald Arhin did not allow his circumstance to deter or hold him from pursuing and achieving his academic goals.

The University of Cambridge alumnus defied the odds to graduate with his MPhil in African Studies at the university. Arhin told Trinity Hall Cambridge that the university and the Centre for African Studies provided the needed support to ensure his disability was not a barrier to his academic pursuits.

Now studying for a doctoral degree at Manchester, Arhin spoke about the challenges as a visually impaired person, studying for his PhD, among others.

Determined 26-Year-Old Man Becomes Dominica's First Blind University Graduate in US

Also, previously reported that a young man named Loik Charles made history as the first visually impaired person from Dominica to graduate from the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) in San Antonio, Texas.

The 26-year-old graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Marketing. In an interview, he said he feels elated and ecstatic while crediting God for the feat. ''I feel like it is something that I have worked hard towards.''

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