As we continue our quest to profile the Young African Entrepreneurs (YAEs) we have shifted our focus to an entrepreneur who is making a difference in education. Patrick Awuah founded a liberal arts college in Ghana in 2002. Ashesi University http://www.ashesi.edu.gh/ offers innovative education with propels critical thinking and ethics with a focus on leadership. Patrick, the founder and president of Ashesi University, left Ghana in the mid-1980s, when the country was under military rule and moved to the United States. He graduated from Swarthmore College with an engineering degree in 1990 and joined Microsoft, moved to Seattle and became a millionaire before he was 30.
Ashesi is a private, hi-tech university in a leafy residential suburb of Ghana’s capital city, Accra. Its campus and facilities present a stark contrast to Ghana’s five public universities. At these government colleges, enrollment has soared to 65,000 since 1990, and overcrowded lecture halls, substandard student residences, rising tuition fees and poor staff salaries have led to angry protests and frequent strikes. However, tuition at public universities is also much cheaper than the $4,500 in fees that Ashesi charges.
About 80 percent of the students enrolled at Ashesi University are from Ghana. Awuah says about half the students receive financial aid. Ashesi offers two four-year degrees, in computer science and business administration, both of which also emphasize a broad foundation in liberal arts.
Entrepreneurs like Patrick Awuah represent the new face of Africa. We wish him the best and urge other Africans to wholeheartedly support the endeavor of educating future African leaders.
Courtesy of NPR, Ashesi University and TED