Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang

Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang FGA (née Sam; born 22 November 1951)[1][2][3] is a Ghanaian academic and politician who served as Minister for Education from February 2013 to January 2017. She is a Full Professor of Literature. She served as the first female Vice-Chancellor of a state university in Ghana when she took over as Vice-Chancellor of University of Cape Coast.[4] She currently serves as the Chancellor of the Women's University in Africa.[5]

Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang
Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang.jpg
Minister for Education
In office
February 2013 – January 2017
PresidentJohn Dramani Mahama
Preceded byLee Ocran
Succeeded byMatthew Opoku Prempeh
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast
In office
Preceded byEmmanuel Addow-Obeng
Personal details
Jane Naana Sam

(1951-11-22) 22 November 1951 (age 70)
Cape Coast, Ghana
NationalityGhana Ghanaian
Political partyNational Democratic Congress
Alma mater
ProfessionProfessor of Literature
ReligionChristian (Methodist)

In the round up to the 2020 General Elections, there were media speculations that the leadership of the biggest opposition party, National Democratic Congress (NDC) will announce her as the new presidential running mate. H.E. John Dramani Mahama made the official declaration on July 6, 2020.[6][7][8]

Early life and educationEdit

Born on 22 November 1951 in Cape Coast, Ghana, Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang (nee Jane Naana Sam) attended Anglican Girls' Secondary School at 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. She also has a Diploma in Advanced Studies in French from the University of Dakar and obtained her Masters and Doctorate degrees from York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1980 and 1986 respectively.[9]


Academic careerEdit

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 the Founding 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. From 2008 to 2012 she was the University's Vice Chancellor. She assumed duty on 1 October 2008, succeeding Emmanuel Addow-Obeng.

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.[10]

In October 2009, she was elected Ghana's representative to the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).[11]

Ahead of the 2012 general elections, Jane Opoku Agyemang moderated the debate with Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.[12]

On 26 October 2018, she became the Chancellor of the Women's University in Africa located in Zimbabwe.[13][14]

She has served on many local and international boards and committees such as the Centre for Democratic Governance, (CDD-Ghana),[15] the Editorial Board of the Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora (Africa World Press Inc. USA),[16] the Africa Initiative in Canada, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons as an Eminent Citizen.[17]


Opoku-Agyemang is an author. Her focus areas includes Literature with a focus on Women from Ghana, Oral literature in Ghana and Africa, Communication Skills and Issues in the African Diaspora. As an academic she has written and published in scholarly journals and presented articles at various conferences including at the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City[10] and at the Inaugural Lecture to the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2015, whilst the Education Minister she published and launched a five volumes collection of published folktales titled ‘Who told the most incredible story?"’[18][19]


Minister for EducationEdit

Between February 2013 and January 2017 she served as the Minister of Education after she was appointed by President John Mahama to serve in that role after the National Democratic Congress had won the 2012 Ghanaian general election.[20] One of her focus areas was empowering the girl child education and empowering women.[21][1] During her period of serving as minister for education she also focused on implementing policies that covered inclusiveness in education in Ghana which birth the Inclusive Education Policy 2015. [2][21]

Vice presidential campaignEdit

Opoku-Agyemang was selected as the presidential running mate for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on July 6, 2020 for Ghana’s December 2020 General elections.[22] She became the first female running mate of the two major political parties in Ghana.[23][24][25] Her selection by the flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress was applauded by women groups and women activists as a positive sign to the Ghanaian political scene to promote gender balance and equality. She however received harsh criticisms and sometimes insults from some key members of the ruling NPP, particularly the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Bernard Antwi Boasiako aka Chairman Wontumi, who called her "ugly" and "witch" during a live radio show on Kumasi-based, Wontumi FM, which he owns. She appealed to Ghanaians to vote for change and promised to use her office as vice president to influence sustainable development and practical youth-centred policies. Her campaign message was devoid of attacks on opponents. Her intensive campaign in the coastal communities and her home region, the Central Region yielded results as the NDC won most of the constituencies they had lost in 2016. The NDC also won 9 out of the 16 regions in Ghana including the major battleground, Greater Accra.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang continues to remain one of the most influential voices in Ghanaian politics. She has criticized the implementation of the government's Free SHS policy which was a major campaign item for the ruling party. [26][27][28][29][30]

Professional associationEdit

Opoku-Agyemang is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, University Teachers Association of Ghana, English Studies Association, African Studies Association, United States, African Literature Association, United States and International Fulbright Scholars Association, Commonwealth of Learning amongst others.

Personal lifeEdit

Opoku Agyemang is a Christian who worships as a Methodist.[31][32] She has three children; Dr. Kweku Opoku-Agyemang,[33] Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Agyemang and Dr. Maame Adwoa Opoku-Agyemang.[34][35]

Awards and recognitionEdit

Opoku-Agyemang has been honoured with honorary degrees from the University of West Indies[36] and Winston-Salem University.[37] She has also received an award for Global leadership from the University of South Florida in Tampa.[38] She has also received the Officer of the Order of the Volta award for Academic Distinction in 2011 by President John Atta Mills.[39] and Ghana Women of Excellence Award in the Education category due her contribution to the development and promotion of quality education in Ghana. She has been acknowledged for Outstanding Performance in Advancing International Education, School for International Training, Vermont, USA on two occasions.[17]

In 2020 she was named among the 40 Most Inspirational Female Leaders in Ghana for serving as a role model for women in Ghana and in Africa[40] Avance media also named her among the 100 Most Influential Women in Africa[41]


  • "Where there is No Silence: Articulations of Resistance to Enslavement". Revised Inaugural Lecture to the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Opoku-Agyemang, N. J., Lovejoy, P. E., Trotman, D. V. (eds), Africa and its Diasporas: History, Memory and Literary Manifestations, Trenton, New Jersey, USA: Africa World Press, 2008.
  • Where There is No Silence: Articulations of Resistance to Enslavement, Accra: Page Link Publishers, 2008.
  • Anquandah, J., Opoku-Agyemang, N.J., and Doormont, M. (eds), The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Landmarks, Legacies, Expectations, Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2007, pp. 210–224.
  • "The Living Experience of the Slave Trade in Sankana and Gwollu: Literary Manifestations and Implications for Tourism". In James Anquandah, Naana Opoku-Agyemang and Michel Doormont (eds), The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Landmarks, Legacies, Expectations, Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2007, pp.
  • "A Fork in the Road: Ayi Kwei Armah's Osiris Rising and Florence Ladd's Sarah's Psalm on the subject of homecoming" in Naana J. Opoku-Agyemang, with Paul E. Lovejoy and David V. Trotman (eds), Africa and its Diasporas: History, Memory and Literary Manifestations, Trenton, New Jersey, USA: Africa World Press, 2008, pp. 303–318.[42]


  1. ^ "Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman, Biography". www.ghanaweb.com. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  2. ^ Ghana, News. "Profile of Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang. - News Ghana". newsghana.com.gh. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Biography". www.ghanaweb.com. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman". ghanaweb.com. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  5. ^ User, Super. "Current Chancellor". www.wua.ac.zw. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  6. ^ Gadugah, Nathan (1 February 2013). "Nana Oye Lithur and four other ministers approved". MyJoyOnline. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Nana Oye Lithur Approved by Appointments Committee". General news. Ghana Home Page. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  8. ^ "Who is Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang?". Graphic Online. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Mahama picks Prof Naana Opoku-Agyemang as running mate". GBC Ghana Online. 6 July 2020. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  10. ^ a b "UNITED NATIONS TO COMMEMORATE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF ABOLITION OF TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE, 26 MARCH | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". www.un.org. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  11. ^ International, Education. "Ghana: NAGRAT supporter appointed as Education Minister". Education International. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  12. ^ "IEA Presidential Debate: Who Stood Out?". ghanaweb.com. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Prof. Naana Opoku-Agyemang appointed Chancellor of Women's University in Africa". Graphic Online. 17 November 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  14. ^ "First female chancellor of Women's University in Africa". University World News. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD-Ghana)". Centre for Democratic Governance - Ghana. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  16. ^ Bloomsbury.com. "Bloomsbury - The Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora". www.bloomsbury.com. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  17. ^ a b "Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang – World Learning Inc". www.worldlearninginc.org. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  18. ^ "African Books Collective: Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang". www.africanbookscollective.com. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Education minister launches five volumes of book titled 'Who told the most incredible story?'". Graphic Online. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  20. ^ "Prof. Opoku Agyeman heads Education, Tekper is new Finance Minister" Archived 2015-02-04 at the Wayback Machine , MyArkFMOnline.com, 11 January 2013.
  21. ^ a b Ghana, News (4 November 2015). "keep the child in school and save their future". News Ghana. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Mahama picks Naana Opoku-Agyeman as running mate for 2020 elections". MyJoyOnline.com. 6 July 2020. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Ghana May See First Female Vice President | Petroleum Africa". Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  24. ^ "What Ghana's first woman presidential running mate of a major party offers". Graphic Online. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  25. ^ "Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang is running mate of NDC". Graphic Online. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  26. ^ Editor (8 July 2020). "AWLA, FIDA congratulate Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang". Dailymailgh. Retrieved 28 November 2020.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  27. ^ Online, Peace FM. "POWA Congratulates Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang". Peacefmonline.com - Ghana news. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  28. ^ "AWLO commends Mahama for choosing Naana Opoku-Agyemang as running mate". Citinewsroom - Comprehensive News in Ghana. 9 July 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  29. ^ "African Centre for Women in Politics lauds selection of Prof Jane Opoku Agyemang as Mahama's running mate". MyJoyOnline.com. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  30. ^ "AWLA congratulates Prof Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang". www.ghanaweb.com. 8 July 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  31. ^ "Prof. Naana Opoku-Agyemang is the fifth Methodist congregant to be elevated". www.ghanaweb.com. 28 July 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  32. ^ "Thanksgiving Service Held For Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang". Modern Ghana. 4 August 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  33. ^ Bio Kweku Opoku-Agyemang (Economics Research) Retrieved 20 February 2021
  34. ^ "Here Are All The Children Of Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman Who Are All Doctorate Degree Holders". GhGossip. 8 July 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  35. ^ "Meet the children of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang". www.ghanaweb.com. 9 July 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  36. ^ "Regional University names fifteen Honorary Graduands" Archived 2014-02-19 at the Wayback Machine , University of the West Indies, 18 August 2010.
  37. ^ "Winston-Salem State University". wssu.edu. Archived from the original on 5 August 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  38. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 April 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^ Online, Peace FM. "Prez Mills Explains What Went Into Selection Of National Award Recipients". m.peacefmonline.com. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  40. ^ "Most Inspirational Female Leaders In Ghana". Young Global Leaders Network. 19 November 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  41. ^ "100Women | Avance Media | Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang". Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Education
2013 – 2017
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by National Democratic Congress nominee for Vice President of Ghana