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Diasporian News of Sunday, 31 October 2004

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Ghanaian Wins Belmas Award

A Ghanaian Cambridge University Research Associate, DR GEORGE K.T.Oduro, was one of the two recipients of the 2004 BEST PhD THESIS AWARD prizes announced at this year's Annual Conference of the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) held at Stone, England on 9th october 2004.

The 1st prize of the award, which was instituted in 2001, went to Dr. Ann Briggs (a British citizen) of the University of Leicester while the 2nd prize went to Dr. Oduro (a Ghanaian) of the University of Cambridge.

Announcing the award, Emeritus Professor Ray Bolam of the University of Cardiff, Chair of the BELMAS Award Panel said, Dr Oduro's thesis which focused on the professional development of Ghanaian headteachers, was judged "to have made one of the most important contributions to our understanding of leadership and management and policy in education of those submitted for consideration."

His thesis, according to the chairman, 'breaks fresh ground in applying concepts from Western literature to the work of primary headteachers in Ghana and present findings about the interplay of the local context and headship, especially about the impact of tradtional beliefs and values'. The Selection panel which comprised five Professors of Educational leadership and Management Policy drawn from the Universities of Cardiff, Leicester, Bath, Lincoln and the Institute of Education, London, offered their congratulations to the award winners and said " both showed a sound knowledge of the substantive and methodological literatures relevant to their topics...Both are worthy of our prize."

Reflecting on the award, Dr Oduro who assumes duty as a full-time lecturer at the Institute for Educational Planning & administration (IEPA), University of Cape Coast (UCC), in December, 2004, said the prize is an honour not to him as a person but to Africa and specifically to Ghanaian academics. Having attained this academic honour with no secondary school background, Dr Oduro hopes this award would serve as an encouragement to other Ghanaians whom poverty has denied access to secondary education but who are determined to climb the academic ladder. 'Obtaining a PhD from Cambridge and winning a British assessed academic award, without any formal secondary school experience should be a moral booster to other Ghanaian students in the UK and elsewhere in the world', he stressed.

Dr Oduro graduated from the University of Cape Coast in 1994 with a First Class (Hons) Degree in Educational Foundations and was completed Part One of a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree programme in Higher Educational Administration in 1996.

In 1997, Dr Oduro won a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship to pursue an MPhil Degree programme in school development.In 1999, he won other scholarships to pursue his Doctorate degree at the University of Cambridge, the thesis of which won him the award. Dr Oduro has a considerable leadership experience having been twice President of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS, 1994 and 1996), President of the Students Representative Council (SRC),University of Cape Coast (1992), College Prefect, Enchi Teacher Training College (1982), President, Advanced Teacher Training College, Winneba (1987) and President Cambridge University Ghanaian Students Society (2000).