A former bricklayer from the Black Country has been made the chief of education in part of Africa.
David Edwards began his career as a humble brickie before climbing the ladder to become a construction manager and eventually going to the University of Wolverhampton as a mature student.
Now Mr Edwards, who is a professor at Birmingham City University , is set to shape the future for young people in Africa after becoming the chief for educational development in Ghana.
The academic has been working tirelessly for the last six years to help more children in the developing country have access to education and has been a visiting lecturer at Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology since 2009.
He will now play a pivotal role in Ghana’s education system, and was presented with a crown at a special ceremony at the Royal Palace in Aaskyiri.
Prof Edwards, who will juggle his job in Ghana with being lead researcher in construction and civil engineering at BCU, said he was “honoured and privileged” to take on the role.
Prof Edwards, of Dudley, said “Ghana is the shining star of Africa, its progress in primary education should be seen as a massive beacon of hope and inspiration for all Africans.”
“However more needs to be done to raise the importance of further and higher education.
“Two thirds of Ghanaians are farmers – there is so much more we could be doing with this talent to help move the country forward.
“I hope to use my time in Ghana to begin working with younger children at nursery, primary and secondary levels to help guide their further learning.
“Eventually I would like to see all locals of Asakyiri have a fair shot at a university education and the opportunity to transform their lives.”
Since Ghana’s education plan was launched in 2007 proposing to get more children into education by 2015, it has been heralded as a role model for many African countries due to its access to free schooling. Almost 90 per cent of Ghanaian children are now in school, compared with 64 per cent in Nigeria and 72 per cent in Pakistan.
Nana Mensa Bonsu, a professor at Kwame Nkrumah University, said: “Professor Edwards has consistently demonstrated great leadership and commitment to inspire staff and students.
“He has always given his time generously and tirelessly and has assisted colleagues to improve upon their personal development and academic profile.
“Such qualities are rare and I have every faith that David will continue to bring his international standards into his role at Chief for Educational Development.”
Prof Edwards is also currently a consultant and advisor for numerous public and private sector organisations – including government bodies in the UK and abroad.
During his 20-year career, Prof Edwards has published over 250 academic journal papers and numerous textbooks and is a peer referee for over 45 internal journal outlets.
He has also been a PhD external examiner and in 2011 he was awarded the Commander’s Coin from the US Department of Defense for his work in contributing to the construction industry.