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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Young African man who works as a shepherd while studying wins UK scholarship, bags PhD in Economics

A young African man named Ah Mumin who used to tender his father’s sheep while a student was awarded a scholarship to further his studies at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom. He also recently bagged his doctoral degree from the same university.

Ah Mumin, a Ghanaian native is the third of his father’s 18 children to enter into high school and the only one to further his education until the doctorate level because of financial struggles.

‘’From my late father’s 18 children, getting to secondary school in 2005 meant that I had already blazed a trail. Of 12 before me, only 2 had basic education but that was where it ended,” he said.

He said he had a very rough journey growing up as he was the one responsible to attend to his father’s sheep and at the same time preparing for high school examinations. Ah Mumin explained that he hardly has time to revise for his examinations that he retires home later in the night after tending to the sheep, and there was no electricity supply as his parent could not afford the electricity bill or the money to fill the oil lamp.

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“In 2005, while my school mates were busy preparing for basic school exams (BECE), I was busy being a herdsman. I would close from school at 1:00pm, get home and take a few sheep owned by my father at the time to the bushes for grazing. Taking care of the animals was my responsibility and there was no running away from it. I would return home with the sheep at about 6:00pm and go for Quranic studies until 9:00pm,” he said.

‘’I had difficulty making time to revise school materials. Even when I wanted to spend time after 9:00pm to do some reading, my home was without electricity supply. Sometimes my parents could afford kerosine to light a hand-held lamp, other times it was too much a luxury. Sometimes, the thatch roof of my home would leak when it rained, and passing exams would be the least of my worries,’’ he added.

Mumin also mentioned that there were times he was beaten by farmers whose crops has been destroyed because he got distracted with reading his textbooks in preparation for primary school final examinations instead of focusing on the sheep. Despite all the challenges he went through, Mumin still overcomes and he emerged as the best student of his class.

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‘’To pass BECE, I would take a textbook along (sometimes a solution board to work some maths) while taking care of the sheep. Occasionally, I would get the beating of my life from unforgiving farmers whose crops got destroyed by the sheep when I focused on reading, rather than the whereabouts of the animals. But I soldiered on, and despite my peculiar challenges, I emerged the best of my JHS for my year,” he said.

He was able to continue his education because of his high grade, he got admission into Business Secondary School, Tamale in Ghana, and consistently aced his subjects till he graduated. Furthering on, his mother suggested he registers at Teachers Training College as she could not afford university fees, Mumin almost considered it because of the awaiting job opportunity attached to the college.

But he hesitated thinking about the constraints on progression as a teacher in the Ghanaian educational system. He defied his mother and applied to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology(KNUST) to pursue his Bachelor’s degree in Development Planning.

As a student in KNUST, Mumin struggled financially but he was able to pull through with loans and involuntarily fasting for some days. After he graduated, Mumin was able to get a shared scholarship from Commonwealth to study for a Master’s Degree.

Mumin bagged his Master’s degree in Economic Development from the University of Glasgow, Scotland in the United Kingdom before getting his doctorate degree on scholarship from the same institution.

Mumin advised students from his community never to look down on their ability, That they don’t need to be exceptionally brilliant before they can achieve academic success but rather persevere and push on.

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