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Diasporia News of Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Source: Maxwell Okamafo Addo, Oxford UK

Mentoring ’Matilda Amissah Arthur inspires at Harris Manchester College

Mentoring ’Matilda Amissah Arthur inspires at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University

The Wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur, on 12th May 2015 will go down in history as the period she honoured the special invitation of a student group known as Attaining the Peak, in Oxford. At the prestigious Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, where she inspired and gave a thought provoking lecture on the theme, “.Education and Mentoring: the mainstay of personal and national development.
Mrs. Matilda Amissah Arthur took the opportunity to deliver a lecture on Mentorship to the students known as (ATP) Attaining the Peak, which is a society that enables Oxford University students to mentor and tutor local students to ensure that they reach their academic potential at the prestigious Harris Manchester College which originally founded as the Warrington Academy in 1757 and is one of the most the most distinguished University campus in the United Kingdom
After the lecture the Wife of the Vice President also held, panel discussions, and a variety of related interactions with the students and also answered some questions posed to her on mentorship and key issues on education.
The College was re-founded in Manchester in 1786 to train people for the learned professions and civil and commercial life and it’s the thirty-ninth College of the University of Oxford, and following a generous benefaction from Lord Harris and his family it became known as Harris Manchester College. Harris Manchester College is now the thirty-seventh College of the University of Oxford following the merger of Templeton College and Green College.
Harris Manchester accepts students only over the age of 21 to study for Oxford first degrees and higher degrees. The College is small and friendly with approximately 100 undergraduates, 50 postgraduates (including 14 medical students) and 60 students reading for the Oxford Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.
Lecturing the students on mentorship the Wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur told the students that Mentoring is basically a system of semi-structured guidance whereby one person shares their knowledge, skills and experiences to assist others to progress in their own lives and careers.
She said Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be. Adding that “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction.”- Adding that mentee realizes that she/he needs help and so identifies some body and asks for help.
Mrs. Matilda Amissah Arthur said there is the MENTOR and the MENTEE. That is the “encourager/supporter and the person being supported /guided’ she said we have to know that some one realizes that a person needs help and so either volunteers to help or leads the person to where she/he can get help, but must be prepared to learn (from examples and mistakes).
Mrs Amissah Arthur advised that a mentee be prepared to listen and be listened to, be open and honest, be truthful. Make time to prepared to be challenged show commitment. And must be open to constructive criticism
She cited examples of teachers who help students to acquire the knowledge they need, also along the line as the students learn some values are also imparted to them. And in the mentoring relationship, mentees who have the right attitude acquire values that mould them for life.
Some of the attributes she cited as; honesty, truthfulness, perseverance and diligence and the mentees should appreciate the relationship and the input made by the mentor in other words, society’s contribution in their life’s. So they are able to also give back to society and the nation.
The Wife of the Vice President used the opportunity to use a company in Ghana called Dream Oval which started in 2007, as an example where some young men and women who have finished the Ashesi University (in Ghana) set up a software development business.
She said they came to talk to her and the husband and I because one of them is a family relation. It was obvious that they needed money to start but more than that, they needed direction. They had the knowledge, the passion, the drive and commitment, so we decided to help.
So she gave them mentorship and advised about what to do. Adding some of them would not last – that some would leave the team. Preparing them for the “real world” was very important in order for them to be able to stand the shocks. A group of young university graduates trying to wrestle jobs from older well established hands was not easy but patience has paid off now.
So the relationship started with her being the sounding board her home was open to them and we could talk about everything and anything.
TheSecond lady said they listened to her and translated ideas into products and worked on them till they could put them on the market. One of their products, iWallet, lay in our home for close to two years before being put on the market.
They performed creditably on the first few jobs they got and that led them on to other jobs. From a single office room, with a bed that acted as the sleeping room and a staff of 4, in 2007, they now occupy a floor of a building and have a staff of 34. They have since 2010 run IT workshops for teachers (ITeach) who do not have any IT knowledge.
Mrs Amissah Arthur said now Dream Oval is giving back to the society. They now offer internship to IT students from the universities. These students in their second and third years spend between ten to twelve weeks engaging in real hands on training that add value to what they are studying. Most of them are able to make career choices during their time at Dream Oval.
DreamOval now works with 5 Banks and has done work for 20 companies in Ghana. The Dream Oval staff is now role models to other young people. Other startup businesses can look up to them and learn from them.
The Wife of the Vice President took the opportunity to introduction some of the founders of Dream Oval to the students and were given the opportunity to do a presentation to the students and shared some of the successes of Dream Oval so far
Present at the ceremony was Ghana’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom His Excellency Victor Smith and other officials from the Ghana high commission and Dr Emefa Juliet Amoako who is the Executive Director of Oxford ATP Education. She is Education, Gender and Research Consultant.
Attaining the Peak is an expert and student-led programme aimed at the development of different dimensions of young students’ capability and educational/ professional development. It is to encourage young students to aspire to achieve high academic and professional goals. It is a personal development programme which gives students the opportunity to interact with Oxford University students in a variety of settings. It is basically a student-inspire-student, student-challenge-student and student-motivate-student programme
AtP is about “lifting a young person’s hope and vision to higher sights; raising a young person’s performance to a higher standard; and building a young personality beyond its normal limitation”. The course shapes from a dialectic engagement between inspirational / motivational ideas and skills proficiency moulded to suit the needs of the students.
It also encourages students to develop their thinking and understanding of local and global influences on the lives of societies and encourages positive action for change. It establishes productive links between the youth in the UK and those of other countries. The programme, targeted at young students with ages ranging from 12 to 18 years, is meant to instil self-confidence, determination, perseverance and attaining high goals.
Overall, Attaining the Peak is a response to some of the motivational, inspirational and academic needs of children in Oxfordshire and elsewhere. It is an initiative with charitable intentions. It is driven by the philosophy that the provision of appropriate motivation in a conducive environment to young students irrespective of background will enable them to unlock and fulfil their diverse potentials and achieve their ultimate goals in life for the benefit of society.
The programme is supported by a strong dynamic Advisory Board and Education Team made up of academics, professionals, entrepreneurs, parents and student volunteers.