Kobina Cato (centre left) and Andrew Dube (centre right) with Dr Scott Taylor (far left) and Professor Jonathan Gosling (far right), University of Exeter Business School

African leaders master on-line degree

Two very special graduates received their degrees at the University of Exeter on 23 January.

Andrew Dube from Malawi and Kobina Cato from Ghana were the first ever African students to complete the MA in Leadership Studies entirely by e-learning.

The course, launched in 2003, by the University of Exeter Business School aims to help participants lead more effectively, build and maintain leadership across an organisation, and resolve leadership problems. It attracts students from around the world who are keen to learn from their previous experiences and improve their leadership skills.

Programme Director Dr Scott Taylor commented “Whilst we’ve had students from as far away as Australia complete the course, this is the first time students have encountered the specific problems that exist in Africa.”

Andrew, Deputy President of the Malawi Assemblies of God, explained “The course at Exeter has a stronger emphasis on leadership than other comparable courses and offers lots of flexibility which is important for busy people like me. One of my responsibilities is to conduct leadership institutes which are about empowerment and developing leadership capabilities within the church and I have also begun some reform programmes. Completing the course has given me the tools and the confidence to undertake these initiatives and to think differently to the normal church mindset.”

Kobina, Director of the Little Flower Montessori School in Accra, added “Although I really enjoyed the course, I think the difficulties of e-learning from Ghana cannot be underestimated. The Internet speeds here are slower and the service can be irregular; textbooks were hard to find sometimes – there’s no Amazon here yet! However I can now provide coaching and mentorship solutions to my team and help them overcome difficulties they encounter in their work. I have also started a leadership training programme for young people in my organisation which will hopefully provide a framework for growing future leaders from a younger age.”

Professor Jonathan Gosling, Director of the Centre for Leadership Studies at the Business School said “These two students have triumphed through a unique set of difficulties to gain their MA in Leadership Studies. Their organisations are already benefiting from their experiences on the course and I’m sure their skills will continue to grow and develop. I am delighted that we have been able to nurture talented individuals who will spread knowledge within countries whose formal leadership training is currently embryonic. I offer them both my wholehearted congratulations.”

A total of 1,217 degrees were awarded at the Winter graduation ceremonies at the University of Exeter on Saturday 23 January. Honorary degrees were bestowed to Whitbread award-winning author Philip Pullman and Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the first woman ever to assume a cabinet position in the United Arab Emirates.

Date: 25 January 2010

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