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Who is Dr. Yatta Kanu from Winnipeg, Canada? - Sierra Leone's Chief Education Officer

Dr. Yatta Kanu (nee Kella), pictured, hails from Soro Gbeima Chiefdom, Pujehun District in Sierra Leone. She earned her PhD in Secondary Education from the University of Alberta in Canada in 1993. In 1985 she obtained her Master’s degree (M.Ed) in Curriculum Studies and Educational Administration from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone; a Graduate Diploma in Curriculum Development from the University of Leeds (UK, 1983); a B.Litt in Applied Linguistics from the University of Birmingham (UK, 1987); a Diploma in Education (Dip.Ed.) from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone (1973); and a BA in English and History from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone (1973). 

Dr. Kanu’s career as a teacher, teacher educator, specialist in curriculum, teaching and learning, education program planner, and education researcher spans over 40 years in diverse countries including: Sierra Leone; Pakistan where she led an innovative teacher education program training Master’s degree level teachers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Central Asia, and Pakistan; USA; and Canada where she was Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba for 20 years (1998-2018). 

During her long and distinguished career, Dr. Kanu has won many Fellowships, Awards, and professional distinctions including Professor Emerita (University of Manitoba , 2020); the Shawane Dagosiwin Award for distinguished research and impactful contributions to indigenous minority education in Canada (2017); the Canadian Educational Research Award  for research in refugee education (2009); University of Manitoba Merit Award for outstanding research and scholarship in curriculum and Teacher Education (2006); University of Manitoba Award Outstanding Teacher Award (2004); International  Award for Distinguished Women in the field of Education (Pakistan, 1996); Meyer Horowtz Post-doctoral Fellowship (1993); and common wealth Fellowship for PhD studies in Canada. 

Dr. Kanu had published extensively in the areas of Indigenous and minority education, curriculum studies, teacher education, basic education in developing countries, and education of refugee students as books, monographs, in peer-reviewed journals, refereed book chapters, and technical research reports. She has presented education research papers at 63 scholarly conferences and meetings world- wide and won over a million dollars (USA) in research grants. As a professor, Dr Kanu has successful supervised dozens of Master’s  and PhD theses in education and has served in diverse administrative roles as part of her services to various communities including civil society organizations, universities, and other international organizations and agencies.

As Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education in the current SLPP government in Sierra Leone, Dr. Kanu’s goal is to use her academic qualifications and extensive national and international work experiences to institute reforms that will improve education and increase educational attainment for students in her native Sierra Leone.