Alumni in Focus: Kenneth Gyamerah
10 June 2020
Alumni in Focus meets Kenneth Gyamerah, to discuss the reasons why he chose the School of Education to continue his studies, his decision to pursue an MSc in Education ( Policy and International Development ), and the impact achieving an MSc has had on his future studies and career path.
Name: Kenneth Gyamerah
Course studied: MSc in Education (Policy and International Development)
Hello, would you mind telling us a bit about yourself?
Hi! My name is Kenneth Gyamerah. I am from Ghana and an alumnus of the School Of Education (SOE), University of Bristol. I am a teacher and Global Youth Advocate for Education. I am a Chevening Scholar, Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), UNCTAD Youth Delegate, and Fellow of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Emerging Leaders Programme. My research interests centres on teacher education in Sub-Saharan Africa, alternative education, and education for sustainable development.
For the last 7 years, I have been instrumental in many international and national education advocacy campaigns aimed at driving investment for education financing in the Global South.
In 2017, I was among the leading youth actors who campaigned to gather 1.5 million petitions from youth leaders in 80 countries, calling on global leaders to increase the investment of education in low-income countries through the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) and the Education Cannot Wait – an initiative by the Global Partnership for Education.
My grassroots work in literacy, girls' education and policy advocacy have been published by Theirworld, The Global Partnership for Education (GPE), Thomson Reuters Foundation, The Commonwealth Voices, and Times Education Supplement. In 2018 and 2019, I was listed in the 50 Most influential Young Ghanaians Awards. Apart from teaching, I love travelling and watching football.
What made you want to study for an MSc?
I decided to pursue a Master's degree to advance my knowledge in the area of education policy.
Why did you choose the School of Education, University of Bristol, for your studies?
I chose the School of Education, University of Bristol for 3 main reasons. First, the School of Education is among the few schools in the UK that offer a specialty in Policy and International development. I have always wanted to study for an MSc in Education Policy, but I was also interested in international development. I realised that studying at the SOE will help me pursue a programme that has the best combination. Modules such as Education, Peace and Sustainable Development, International Development Research and Comparative Education, Education Inequalities and Social Justice and Education Policy in the Global Context have been specially designed to meet the economic, social, and environmental needs of the 21st century.
The courses are in line with key development agendas such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are significant for my career aspirations. Second, the prestige of the University and the international recognition attracted me to study at the SOE. The University of Bristol is ranked in the top 10 out of the over 150 universities in the UK.
The University is also ranked in the top 50 World University rankings according to QS. As a Russell Group member, the University has produced many industry leaders, educationalists, academics, political leaders, and award-winning scientists. Therefore, I wanted to study at a top university to develop academically and build professional networks. Finally, I decided to study at the SOE because of the option to choose other modules from the different pathways.
How has completing your MSc helped with your career or further education?
The Master's programme has developed me academically and professionally. Through the MSc in Education ( Policy and International Development ) programme, I have developed research skills and advanced my knowledge and understanding of global education policy, international development, and social justice. The programme has supported me to develop a very critical and analytical voice to interrogate educational issues at the international, regional, and national levels. The programme also gave a platform for me to connect and network with brilliant scholars from different part of the world.
During my time at the SOE, the Policy and International development pathway had students from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, and North America. We have built a strong and diverse network. It has been very rewarding learning from all these fantastic classmates.
In terms of career, since graduation, I have worked for two international organisations- first, I was selected among nine young changemakers from the Global South to work as a youth development consultant on a 6-month project with CIVICUS Alliance for Citizenship Participation. Currently, I am working as a research consultant on another 6-month project for Plan International Sweden. Through these roles, I have been able to apply the research skills I acquired from the SOE.
Due to my interest in comparative and international education, I have decided to further my education. In September 2020, I will start a PhD in Education at the Queen’s University in Canada. I am looking forward to starting this new adventure in another country. I couldn’t have achieved these without the education and support I received from the fantastic academics at the School of Education.
And finally, do you have any advice or tips for people who are thinking about undertaking a Masters, or continuing their education?
For those who want to undertake their Masters especially those from Africa, they should explore the Chevening Scholarship and the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship - Bristol is a partner university. They can also apply for the University of Bristol Think Big scholarships. They should understand that the Master's programme is very intensive and the year runs very quickly.
I will encourage them to apply for admissions in advance so in case they have some conditions to satisfy such as English Language, they can get them to the admission office in time. For those already on their MSc in Education, I will also advise them to strike a balance between academic work and social life. They should attend seminars such as the Bristol Conversations in Education. These seminars really helped me to learn many new things in the field of education, current research of academics in the SOE, and other scholars from different universities. Finally, they should prioritise their mental health and use the opportunity to make new connections.
Thank you, Kenneth, and the SoE wishes you every success with your future studies and career!