He answers to Mathew Opoku Prempeh but for many, he is simply Napo and for four years he planned and spearheaded the implementation of arguably the biggest social intervention programme, the Free Senior High School (SHS) program in Ghana despite the scepticism and opposition to the promise made by President Akufo-Addo.
In a sector dominated by blocks, egos and deep-seated interest, the implementation of the program was bound to face challenges but the determination motivated by the desire to creating a society of opportunities and empowerment for every citizen, Napo ensured the program took off after the official launch on September 17, 2017, and today, senior high school is not only for the wealthy in the society but opened to all and that is why 18-year-old Thomas Amoani from Asuaba near Adeiso in the eastern region is now economics at the University of Ghana.
Though from a deprived home and would have made it to tertiary education the free SHS unearthed the talent in him and now boost of grade A1 in all eight subjects in the 2020 WASSCE. Similar stories abound in other communities.
Born a royal of the revered Asante Kingdom on 23 May 1968, Dr. Prempeh studied Human Biology and Medicine at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and technology, later continuing post-graduate studies at the Netherlands Institute of Health Sciences and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of the United Kingdom
He is celebrated for his diligence and commitment to duty by colleagues who worked with him during his medical practice at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi but perhaps the desire to serve a larger populace forced him to enter politics succeeding his uncle, Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor as MP for Manhyia South in the Ashanti region, first elected in 2008 and currently in is 4th term as a legislature.
His works in Parliament is without blemish and this writer having monitored 6th parliamentary proceeding between 2013 to 2017 can attest to his role in the fashioning out of many legislations that came before the house.
The main role of parliament is law making but many including sitting MPs finds that aspect (consideration of bills) boring and time consuming but under the speakership of Edward Doe Adjaho few NPP minority MPs found time to be part of that process.
Usually during considerations of bill one would find some MPs from both sides charting and laughing over tea, Waakye around the chamber cafeteria. But consistently on the floor of parliament were Dr. Prempeh, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, Dominic Nitiwul, Alexander Afenyo Markin, Adwoa Safo, Kwasi Amoako, WO Boafo, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei and few others sometimes helping interrogating clause by clause bills before the house.
It is, therefore, no wonder at a relatively young age he is among the most performing ministers in the political history of Ghana. For some, he comes across as arrogant and impatient but that’s the price to pay for in this country for being confident, competent and a perfectionist with no room for mediocrity.
Under as Education minister, the country is in a position to have a well-educated population in the next decade to come, technical and vocational education has been given a pride of place in the country and no child is been left behind.
The sector also recorded the best performance in the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination in 2020 resulting in mass admission to tertiary education.
The sector has also seen an unprecedented improvement in educational infrastructure and the best is yet to come. He may not be perfect and as human have his flaws but he has set the countys education development on the right pedal and history will be the better judge.
There are rumors he may be moved to the energy sector by President Akufo Addo. Sad that he will leave what he started in the education sector but the country is the ultimate winner as his competence and zeal to get things done in the face of challenges will be felt in the sector which is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy.
The country is blessed to have competent hands like Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh who is destined for greatness.