Hon. Prof. Kwesi Yankah
- Minister of State - Tertiary EducationMinistry Of Education
- 0302747778 /1049,1013
- The Public Relations Unit,Ministry of EducationK Block Ground FloorP. O. Box M45,Ministries - Accra, Ghana
Prof. Kwesi Yankah is a Ghanaian academic, author, and university administrator. He is a professor of linguistics and oral literature specialising in the ethnography of communications. He has served as the Pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Ghanaand the president of the Central University. The author of several books, he was inducted as a fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999. He is currently the Ghanaian Minister of State in charge of tertiary education.
Early life and education
Yankah’s doctoral thesis earned him the Esther Kinsley Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation at Indiana University, United States.
Yankah spent most of his working life in academia. He lectured at the University of Ghana and held several positions in the university. He served as Dean of Students of the university as well as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Head of Linguistics Department. His last position at the university was that of Pro-vice-chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. In September 2011, he succeeded Professor Victor Gadzekpo as the President of the Central University in Ghana. His appointment coincided with Rev. Prof. Addow Obeng‘s appointment as Central University’s Pro Vice Chancellor. Yankah served as the university president until March 2017, when he was appointed a Minister of State.
During his working life, Yankah also contributed to several newspapers, including The Mirror and Catholic Standard. He has authored many books, including Speaking for the Chief: Okyeame and the Politics of Royal Oratory.
Affiliations and memberships
Yankah has been Senior External Advisor, Center for Local Strategies Research, University of Washington and a Member of the Policy Working Group, African Presidential Archives and Research Centre, Boston University. In 1999 he was elected Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in Accra. He served a three-year term as the Honorary Secretary of the Academy from 2003.
Awards and honors
In July 2016 he was honoured at the 2016 Africa Summit for his contribution to education in Ghana and his contribution to Africa’s development.
Minister of State
In March 2017, Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo nominated him as a Minister of State in charge of tertiary education. Yankah appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on 27 March 2017. During his vetting, he made it clear that he was not just a sympathizer of the New Patriotic Party, but had for years been a registered member. He told the committee that if confirmed, he would introduce new courses in public universities, as most of their curricula was getting outdated. He pledged to ensure that universities remained true to their core mandate of knowledge exchange rather than the new paradigm which sought to actively engage in revenue generation ventures.
He was approved by the Parliament of Ghana and took his oath of office in April 2017. He has been actively engaged in the planning and implementation of the Free SHS Policy of the Akufo-Addo administration. He is credited with writing the title song for the government’s Free SHS policy.
Yankah is married with three children, and is a member of the Catholic Church in Ghana.