From watchman to doctor: The story of Tetteh Nettey


He has a passion for education and will do whatever it takes legally to achieve an educational goal he sets for himself. For him, education is the key to an individual’s breakthrough in life.

‘Personally I have come to believe in education. I didn’t have that belief when I was growing up but along the way in the 1990s, my perception of life changed for the better because I suddenly realised that education is really important to success in life’.

These are the words of the Founder and President of High Point Academy, Meridian Pre-University and the Marshalls University College at Odorkor in Accra, Dr Tetteh Nettey.

He also serves as the Vice-Chairman of Meridian-Marshalls Holding Limited (MMH), the mother company of Meridian Pre-University and Marshalls College. The MMH will launch its initial public offer (IPO) to be listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange on April 22, 2015.

The event will take place at the World Trade Centre in Accra. The MMH will thus become the first and only educational institution in sub-Sahara Africa to be listed on the Stock Exchange.

He is the co-founder of HYPERLINK and the author of the book,You Failed, So What?.

Dr Nettey, who recently successfully defended his dissertation for his Doctor of Management Degree in Columbus, Ohio, hails from Gbese at James Town in Accra.

He was born to Maxwell Nerboi Nettey and Mary Opong Ansomaa from Nsawam in the Eastern Region.

He began school with his siblings at the St Anthony Preparatory School at Latebiokorshie.

Young Nettey then proceeded to Cambridge International School after which he stayed at home for sometime because the second cycle schools he chose did not admit him due to his grades.

He did not give up but decided to continue his education this time by pursuing a technical programme at the Accra Technical Training Centre (ATTC) for three years to study Auto Mechanic.

‘I went on an internship at Construction Pioneers (CP) on three different occasions. On two occasions, I was there as an auto mechanic intern. I was, however, fired as an intern as a result of what they described as day-dreaming,’ he quipped.

For him, he was not sleeping on the job but waiting for his master to bring a certain part for them to complete the job.

Apparently, while he waited, one of the CP German supervisors who passed by saw him seated idle and thought he had nothing to do and so fired him.

That, however, did not deter him, and so he applied again to the same company but to a different department as a watchman.

He was subsequently posted to the James Town office of CP where he worked for two-and-a-half years.

During night duties and whenever he was less busy, Nettey, then about 24 years, would use the time to read books.

‘I did not like my environment because I was so close to the Korle Lagoon with all the stench. So I had to do a lot of thinking, asking myself whether that was where my life was going to end?’

He told The Mirror that asking himself so many questions about his life and future challenged him to improve upon himself by putting his belief strongly in God. Having considered education as the way out, he was faced with the task of funding his education if he wanted to go back to school to better himself.

Tetteh Nettey took advantage of his 24-hour off shifts to do private studies by going out to friends who were in school for assistance. That was how he wrote his General Certificates of Education (GCE) Ordinary and Advanced Level courses.

He did his GCE Ordinary Level (O’ Level) in 10 months. Immediately he finished, he did not wait for the release of the O’Level results and proceeded to do his A’Level.

In 11 months, he passed his A’Level and was admitted to the University of London where he failed his law courses.

‘The programme was a distance one and I found it difficult to understand the university education and its settings and how things were done. That is how come I wrote the book, You Failed, So What?. He believes that failure to achieve certain tasks is not the end of one’s life.

He did not give up but enrolled in Central University College in Accra and read Bachelor of Science Human Resource Management. At the university too, he was a watchman opening the gate for his colleagues while he studied.

Finally, he came out with a Second Class Upper and followed it up later with a Master’s programme in Entrepreneurship at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administraion (GIMPA) also in between the time he did his undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

He introduced the pre-university concept in Ghana, with the setting up of the Meridian Pre-University in August, 2007 because he wanted to give opportunity to students who did not meet the requirements for the universities but had completed second cycle institutions.

‘We started the Meridian Pre-University in 2007 but we did not have a university in mind. But in second/third year, we realised that there was the need to start our own university college. So we started the process of accreditation for Marshalls and by God’s grace in our fifth year, we had the green light from the National Accreditation Board’.

He also went ahead to set up a remedial school called High Point Academy having in mind those who did not pass their West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). It was to enable them to pass their examination for university education.

‘I have made attempts in various ways to try and improve myself and I know the only way, in my opinion, is through education,’ he emphasised.

His persuit for more knowledge has caused him to enroll on a Stanford University Programme to further sharpen his skills.

He believes the acquisition of more knowledge would make him better.

Dr Nettey is married to Genevieve and they have three children – Grandsir, Lynnette and Giovanni Nettey.


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