Former Minister for Education, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, has been nominated as the running mate of the presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama.
Her appointment comes after close to two years of deliberations by the National Democratic Congress on the ‘perfect’ running mate for Mr. Mahama in the run-up to the 2020 December polls.
Undoubtedly, her appointment poses a great threat to the New Patriotic Party as Prof. Opoku-Agyemang in her own right is a ‘heavyweight,’ as she commands respect both locally and internationally.
Born on November 22, 1951, in Cape Coast, Ghana, Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang attended Anglican Girls’ Secondary School in Koforidua and Aburi Presby Girls’ School. She then had her secondary education at the Wesley Girls High School in Cape Coast from 1964 to 1971.
She completed B.Ed. (Hons) in English and French at the University of Cape Coast in 1977 and obtained her Master and Doctorate degrees from York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1980 and 1986 respectively.
Professor Opoku-Agyemang taught and worked at the University of Cape Coast, starting in 1986.
She has held various academic positions including Head of the Department of English, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Warden of Adehye Hall, Valco Trust Fund Post-Graduate Hostel, and Dean of School of Graduate Studies and Research.
From 1997, she has held the position of Academic Director of the School for International Training in the History and Cultures of the African Diaspora.
On October 1, 2008, Professor Opoku-Agyemang became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, making her the first female Vice-Chancellor of a State University in the country. She served from 2008 to 2012.
On October 26, 2018, she became the Chancellor of the Women’s University in Africa located in Zimbabwe.
She has also received the Officer of the Order of the Volta award for Academic Distinction and Ghana Women of Excellence Award in the Education category.
In 2013, Prof Opoku-Agyemang was appointed Minister of Education by the then president, Mr. Mahama, and served until January 2017 when the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo administration was elected to power.
In March 2007, she was one of five scholars selected to deliver presentations during the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
In October 2009, she was elected Ghana’s representative to the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
She has served on many international boards and committees such as the Editorial Board of The Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora (Africa World Press Inc. USA), the Africa Initiative in Canada, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons as Eminent Citizen.
Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang has been honored with honorary degrees from the University of West of Indies and Winston-Salem University. She has also received an award for Global leadership from the University of South Florida in Tampa.
She has also been acknowledged for her outstanding performance in advancing International Education, School for International Training, Vermont, the USA on two occasions.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, University Teachers Association of Ghana, English Studies Association, African Studies Association, USA, African Literature Association, USA, and the International Fulbright Scholars Association.