Dr. Samuel Awinkene Atintono inducted as 7th Principal of Accra College of Education

Dr. Samuel Awinkene Atintono was on Friday, 13th November 2020 inducted into office as the 7th Principal for Accra College of Education in a very colorful ceremony held at the College’s auditorium. The event was attended by several dignitaries from the teacher education fraternity, members of the College’s Governing Council, members of PRINCOF, political personalities, traditional rulers, staff, and students of the College.

Most dignitaries at the event were clad in their beautiful smocks. There were soothing northern indigenous musical interludes which kept the entire event interesting and lively.  

Profile of Dr. Samuel Awinkene Atintono

Dr. Atintono started his elementary education at Zↄkↄ-Gambↄreꬼↄ Primary in 1975. In 1982, he passed a competitive entrance exam to enter Akantome Junior Secondary School in Bolga. After successfully passing the BECE in 1984, he gained admission to Bolgatanga Secondary School (Big Boss) and was admitted into form three. He completed his O-level in 1987.

Advised by his uncle, Mr. William Ayambire, and his elder brother to undertake a teaching profession as a result of the challenging family financial situation, he left Sixth form in 1988 and gained admission into Gbewaa Teacher Training College, Pusiga-Bawku, where he pursued a Three-Year Post-Secondary Teacher’s Certificate ‘A’ and graduated in 1991.

His desire to serve mother Ghana made him to accept postings in September 1991 to Banda-Ahenkro Junior Secondary School, a remote village in the then Brong-Ahafo Region to teach.  It was a place where newly posted teachers at the time would prefer to abandon a teaching career to accepting postings to this rural community. Poor road work, extreme poverty, lack of electricity, non-existent social amenities and the only place for socialization was at the village square with palm wine celebrants characterized the village at the time. Upon arrival, he became the Assistant Headteacher, Mathematics, Social Studies, and English teacher in the school. Potential for further studies was a fantasy in this village since everyone in the village talks about the size of yam farms and making babies while colleague teachers pride themselves on how much palm wine one could consume. It was in his 2nd year on a Friday afternoon in February 1993, after school that while sitting under the palm wine base at the village square, the postmaster who usually collects tokens from teachers and catechists to travel to Wenchi monthly for mails arrived sweating and brandishing a letter soiled in palm oil with a strong smell of akpeteshie shouted “Teacher Atitono! You have a letter! But before you can collect you know the ritual.” A keg of palm wine was enough for the lifting of the ban on the delivery of the letter. With a strong appetite to see the content, I quickly tore open the letter and the first line reads “I hope you are making the best in Banda-Ahenkro but remember that you have the potential to achieve in your academic career and the village is not your place, go for further studies in a university.” It was a letter from his former College English Teacher, Mr. David Odoi now Dr. David Odoi at Language Centre, University of Ghana, Legon.  He left the palm wine base unceremoniously. That message was a turning point in his life and career and the rest is history and what we are witnessing today.

After his 3rd year in Banda-Ahenkro, he gained admission to pursue a Diploma in Ghanaian Language (Gurenɛ) and Mathematics at the University of Education, Winneba (then University College of Education, Winneba) and graduated with a 2nd Class Upper Division in 1998. He was among a few brilliant diploma students who were selected to pursue a one-year top-up B-Ed programme that UEW had introduced.  He opted for a B.Ed in Mathematics with Gurenɛ Education at the University of Education, Winneba and graduated in 1999 with 2nd Class Upper Division. His former teacher and mentor, Prof. Avea E. Nsoh spotted his talent in linguistics and Ghanaian languages (Gurenɛ) and persuaded him to remain as a Teaching and Research Assistant at the then Department of Ghanaian Languages in UEW, Winneba. Through Prof. Nsoh and Prof. Mary E. K, Dakubu mentorship, he subsequently developed a high interest in Linguistics and languages and pursued a Postgraduate Diploma and a Master of Philosophy in Linguistics at the University of Ghana, Legon in 2002 and 2004 respectively.

Dr. Atintono was appointed a Lecturer in 2004 in the then Department of Ghanaian Languages at the University of Education, Winneba, and by dint of hard work he was promoted to the rank of Senior Lecturer in linguistics and Ghanaian languages in 2008. He taught various undergraduate courses in general linguistics, and linguistics, grammar, and literature courses in Gurenɛ.

In 2008, Dr. Atintono won the prestigious Commonwealth Academic Scholarship to pursue a Doctoral Programme in Linguistics tenable at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. He graduated from his Doctoral Programme in June 2013 and returned to UEW to continue teaching and research. He taught both graduate and undergraduate linguistics courses in the Departments of Ghanaian languages, Department of Applied Linguistics, and the Department of English. He supervised and graduated over twenty M.Phil students and thirty MA students in Ghanaian Languages, and Applied linguistics. He has also supervised and graduated one PhD student to his credit. He was also an internal examiner of MA/MPhil/PhD theses for the departments of Applied Linguistics, Ghanaian Languages Education, Communication, and Media Studies. He is an external examiner for long essays, MA/MPhil/PhD theses for the Department of English, University of Cape Coast, Department of Linguistics, University of Ghana, and Department of Basic Education, University for Development Studies.

He again won another prestigious scholarship; the flagship American scholarship, Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar from November 2017-August 2018 to conduct research and write a grammar of Gurenɛ at the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.

Dr. Atintono is a professional teacher and educationist with rich experience in teacher education. Before assuming his current position as the Principal of the Accra College of Education, he has been in academia for close to twenty years. His teaching and research are focused on the Ghanaian languages, linguistics, literacy, literature, and Culture.

He has rich administrative and leadership experience in the tertiary education setting. His leadership style is participatory, transformational, visionary, and strategic. He was the Head of Department of Gur-Gonja Languages Education for four years (August 2013-July 2017) at the College of Languages Education, Ajumako, University of Education, Winneba and occasionally acted as the Dean of the Faculty of Ghanaian Languages at the same University. He also served as the Graduate Coordinator for the Departments of Ghanaian languages for four years. As a Head of the department, he transformed the department to improve the human resource, facilitated the development of a research policy, and enhanced student recruitment and their academic performance.

Excerpts from addresses made during the investiture

In an address read on his behalf, the Minister for Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh commended the authorities of the College for the excellent choice of a distinguished person and one who is aimed at achieving academic excellence and growth.

The Minister further stated that “significant progress has been made in the Colleges of Education to enable the government to achieve one of its quality educational goals of pre-tertiary teachers with a minimum qualification of Bachelor’s degree”.

“The Ministry is aware of the accommodation issues in the Colleges of Education and some efforts have been made to ensure that accommodation issues in the Colleges of Education are provided” the statement further added.

Dr. Samuel Atintono Awinkene in his address indicated that upon assumption of office on November 1, 2018, I set out my vision for the College to provide a sound and visionary leadership to support the successful training of competent teachers for Ghana and support the Government’s agenda in teacher education. To enhance the operations in the College, I set out to transform the College into an institution of excellence in line with its vision and mission. To achieve this vision, I presented strategies that will facilitate the achievement of the vision based on five thematic areas: Academic Excellence, Research and Staff Development, Partnerships and Collaborations, Prudent use of Financial Resources, and a Pro-active Administrative System.

The immediate past Principal of the College, Mrs. Christiana Bampoe Henaku in her address congratulated Dr. Samuel Awinkene Atintono on his investiture as the seventh Principal of the College.

She further stated that “the demands of your work will be enormous, requiring good leadership, creativity, innovation, and a supportive working team. It will, however, be rewarding as you will have the opportunity to direct and lead not just a vibrant and ambitious cohort of students, but a dynamic, progressive and hardworking staff, who have together, worked for the College to attain the high academic and disciplinary standard that it enjoys today. I am confident that your considerable professional experience will put you in good stead to execute your mandate successfully”.  

The Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), Prof. Mohammed Salifu admonished Management of the College to work with staff at all levels to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Proper procedures must always be adhered to ensure a free, fair, and transparent system for the benefit of all.

Prof. Salifu further stated that “we are living in an era of a ‘new normal’ and all of us have to be doing things differently. We have to observe all the necessary protocols at all times. My advice for the Principal on this special day of his life is to have an open-door policy. Listen to the rank and file of staff. Learn from your predecessors, where they failed, learn. Where they made it, go much farther to the benefit of students, staff, and the College community as a whole”.

Source: News Desk, Colleges of Education Weekly Journal

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