An International Educational Partnership: Suffolk University Receives Grant To Train Ghana Educators In Helping City of Sekondi-Takoradi Become Economically Competitive


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Tony Ferullo at 617-573-8448

BOSTON – The Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) and Suffolk University’s Department of Economics were recently awarded a grant of $125,000 to train faculty members from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. The grant was given by the Association Liaison Office for University Cooperation in Development, and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

This educational training project began when Dr. Renee Dankerlin introduced the idea of working with the people of Ghana to BHI, where she is currently working as an independent consultant.

Dankerlin had met Philip Nkrumah, the Mayor of Sekondi-Takoradi, the third largest city in Ghana, when he visited Boston in October 2001 to sign the Boston-Sekondi-Takoradi Sister City Agreement with Boston Mayor Tom Menino. The Boston-Sekondi-Takoradi Sister City Association (BOSETA), a non-profit organization set up to facilitate education, commerce and cultural interaction between Boston and Ghana, was instrumental in bringing Mayors Menino and Nkrumah together.

When Dankerlin asked Mayor Nkrumah what his city needed most, he replied that he wanted to build upon his staff's knowledge, experience and training.

Dankerlin then approached Suffolk Associate Professor of Economics, Dr. Jonathan Haughton, an expert in economic development of third-world countries, in formulating with Mayor Nkrumah a plan and applying for a grant to help the city of Sekondi-Takoradi. She identified ALO (Association Liaison Office for University Cooperation in Development) as a source of funding.

Dankerlin attended the 2001 Annual Conference of ALO where she met with Dr. Fafui Etsey and Rosemary Bosu of UCC (University of Cape Coast), who were interested in collaborating, through her assistance, with Mayor Nkrumah and the BHI/Suffolk Economics Department. Johnson Niba of ALO was instrumental in putting the partnership together.

“We put together a proposal and it was a very competitive process,” explained. Haughton, who also holds the title of Senior Analyst at the Beacon Hill Institute. “Suffolk University and the University of Cape Coast have teamed up on this project to help Sekondi-Takoradi become economically competitive, attract investors and grow faster.”

Four faculty members from the University of Cape Coast recently traveled to Boston for a two-week training session at Suffolk University. They stayed in the Suffolk dormitory on Tremont Street and were taught two courses – computer technology and strategic management and policy formulation.

“We trained these people so they can go back to Ghana and train department heads and city managers of Sekondi-Takoradi in improving the competitiveness of that city,” said Haughton. “They are all professional teachers – two of them have doctorate degrees and another is working towards one. We helped them to fill some gaps, develop some structure and learn new information.”

Rosemary Bosu, who has been teaching educational technology and school administration at the University of Cape Coast for the last six years, was one of the four Ghana educators who made the trip to Boston. She says the Suffolk University training session taught her valuable lessons that she will share with the people back home.

“I’m very happy to have been part of this training and there was so much to learn,” said Bosu. “We can now bring back what we’ve learned and teach our people so they can build on the skills they already have and improve the projects they’re working on.”

This was the first time that Bosu visited Boston. She says she liked the city, although the weather was much colder than she’s comfortable with. When not attending class, she spent most of her time shopping for her three young children, buying them T-shirts, CDs and educational books.

Bosu also offered her opinion on American cuisine. “The food is different than I’m used to,” she said with a bright smile, “but I love hamburgers.”

Kafui Etsey, who teaches educational measurement and evaluation, statistics and educational research methods at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), was the leader of the Ghana training contingent at Suffolk. A confident and personable gentleman, who was educated in the US, the UK and Ghana, Etsey says that the Suffolk-University of Cape Coast partnership is a perfect match.

“This has been a good experience,” said Etsey. “I’m excited because Suffolk even helped to get our web page up and running. We have learned so much useful information that we can pass on to junior and senior management staff at Sekondi-Takoradi, as well as the students we teach at our University. Everyone benefits from this project.”

This was also Etsey’s first trip to Boston, and he was amazed how everything – landmarks, public transportation, restaurants – was so centrally located and convenient for people. He says he likes American fast food and was thrilled to watch the NBA Finals on the television set in his dormitory room.

“I enjoyed watching the games,” he said. “I like David Robinson and the San Antonio Spurs.”

This summer, Dankerlin will visit Ghana to attend a conference on “sister cities” and assist UCC faculty in identifying the initial steps for preparing with Sekondi-Takoradi a strategic plan to improve the quality of education and workforce development for local economic development and competitiveness.

Early next year, Haughton and Dr. David Tuerck, Executive Director of the Beacon Hill Institute and Professor and Chairperson of the Economics Department at Suffolk, will travel to Ghana to present workshops on affordable housing, trash disposal and general education.

“We’re extremely pleased the way everything is progressing,” said Haughton, who mentioned that the grant ends in August 2004. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

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