Leonard Adjetey , at age 73, has just graduated with a Second Class Upper degree and tells NEWS-ONE he would be pursuing his Masters degree because higher academic education gives him the requisite confidence and discipline to live a better life.
Mr Adjetey owns two thriving hotels, one in Tema and another in Kpone. He also runs a successful agriculture business and says he went to the university to get a degree not because he does not have what to eat. NEWS-ONE first asked him why he returned to school at such an old age.
‘Confidence; I wanted confidence. I was thinking to get to the top but I realised I had a limitation and that the key to the top lay in my ability to acquire higher knowledge. I was advised by my eldest daughter to go to the university and I took that advice. Now, my brains have been sharpened and I want to pursue my Masters.
‘I gained admission to the Presbyterian University College, Tema Campus, at age 71 and started as a level 200 student. My class mates called me ‘Dada’. Some were as young as 24. The nearest student to my age was 54. The rest of my mates were young men and women. Even the lecturers were same age as my children but I was ready to learn and I did my best.’
The old man said he studied Business Administration, Management option, and that he values the exposure, discipline and training more than the certificate given him at his graduation.
‘Before I went to the university, my highest qualification was a Certificate from the Institute of Professional Studies in 1976. It was an Intermediate Certificate of the Association of International Accountants (AIA). At that time, there was no ACCA. Subsequently, there was the need to merge the AIA with the AACCA but those of us from the AIA felt it was not necessary so we ignored.
‘I started working with my certificate at the Tema Development Corporation. I got married and started having children so I forgot about education until now,’ he explained.
Mr Adjetey said university education has given him an insight into things men of his generation may not have an understanding of.
‘I now understand the essence of IT and social media. I fully understand and use facebook, Twitter and all that. I understand intranet and extranet. I now understand the essence of Public Relations as a marketing tool and as a management function, I understand the current paradigms and theories of management. I am now more confident than I was. I am there.’
The old man admitted it was not a tea party and said there was a time he contemplated giving up.
‘The first three or four months were challenging and I felt like giving up. I could not sit for long hours at this age but the course was such that I had to sit for three or four hours at a go. I had never done that before and it gave my waist pains. Even my wife asked me to quit if I could not endure the pain. But I got used to it and it vanished.
‘I remember I had to get up during lectures and stretch a bit and this often got the young ones laughing at me. I was warned that if I failed in any subject, I would trail and have to resit. So I joined a study group with the young ones and we studied together. I helped them with Accounting and Economics and they also helped me with Investment Law and some of the newer subjects,’ he added.
‘This is not about earning an income or anything; I have what to eat, I have my cars and where to live. But I now have the confidence to face the world because I am a learned man. I am a man of higher education and I can walk into any police station, institution or organisation with my chin and shoulders up. No one can intimidate me with his knowledge anymore. I can even take up higher appointments and I am bold enough to face any interview panel.’
Leonard Adjetey with his family at his graduation
‘My family was there to support me at my graduation. I have four children. The eldest is about 45 years. She went to the University of Ghana, Legon, where she did her Masters. She is now the managing director of a highly respected private company in Accra. My second born is a male. He is a trained engineer from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. My third born is a female and graduated from the University of Cape Coast. She is now in charge of my business; and the last born is currently studying Architecture at the university. My wife, Hanna Tetteh, is a teacher. She went to the Cape Coast University. I learn with my last born and I am even coaching him on how to go about his project work.’
‘My secondary school mates can also be where I am today because some of them were more brilliant than I am. But they decided to remain down there, marry many women and give birth to many children. When you have many children from different women, it is difficult to achieve certain things.
‘It is easier for me to take my four kids to a minimum of university education and I could not have catered for more than four at that time. I don’t know about today but in my days, it was a huge task to give children the best education. That decision has paid off handsomely and they are paying my fees.’
ADVICE TO THE YOUTH
‘I feel I owe the youth a duty to share my experience with them. Very soon, I would be leaving the scene and it is necessary to share our experience with the youth who would be taking over. These days the youth say they can’t learn because of frequent power outages. In our days, there were no lights at all and we still learnt and managed to pass.
‘In our days, we remained healthy and exercised by walking but the youth of today do not walk even short distances. They take hired taxies everywhere they go.
‘What I mean is that the discipline and sense of purpose is not more there and it is costing us a lot. My message is for us to make the best use of the opportunities available to us now rather than lay back and complain about everything we consider to be wrong.’
By Halifax Ansah-Addo (Twitter: @HalifaxAnsahAdd)
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