A Norway-based Ghanaian research student has called on Ghana government to make tertiary education free.
Joseph Kyei-Boateng, a journalist by profession, commended Ghana Government for its free second cycle education policy, but recommended that Ghana government could also learn from Norway by also making tertiary education tuition free.
In an interview with The Chronicle via electronic mail after the inauguration of the National Union of Ghanaians in Norway (NUGN) last Saturday in Bergen, Western Norway (Vestland), Mr. Kyei-Boateng observed that university education in Norway is free (tuition free) for both nationals of Norway and foreigners and urged the Ghana government to learn from Norway to positively impact on Ghana.
Mr. Kyei-Boateng, who is also the Secretary to the Board of the NUGN also noted that the era where admission forms to the tertiary institutions are sold to applicants in Ghana could end and government of Ghana can absorb the revenue accrued from the sale of admission forms and make online admission applications free in this digital era.
The young prospective media researcher noted that before Norway discovered oil in the early 1980s, the Nordic country was relatively as poor as Ghana, but as Norway advanced in its oil revenues, it made huge investments to become rich, quoting Jonas Olhsson (2015), a media author who describes the nordic countries (Norway, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden) as “little over-achievers”.
Mr. Kyei-Boateng, however, noted that Norway exports only Oil and Fish to become rich through investments and wondered why Ghana exports oil, timber, cocoa, gold and manganese among others yet Ghana is struggling to become rich.
“The oil revenues of Norway have been heavily invested. And currently, the Norwegian Pension Fund Global is one of the largest investments in the world. It is worth $200,000 per citizen. As government of Ghana and as a people, can we learn collectively from Norway?”, he asked rhetorically.
The Ghanaian student has called on Ghanaians living in Norway to learn many positive stories from Norway to impact on Ghana.
He said that even though every country has its own negatives, Norway as a western country, has many positive stories that Ghanaians living in Norway could learn to cause a paradigm shift in the developmental affairs of Ghana.
Mr. Kyei-Boateng stressed the importance for Ghanaians in Norway to network and collaborate with one another for job security, give back to their mother land Ghana including investments and individually and collectively as a people change the face of Ghana.
“Yes, as we live in Norway, whether we are temporary or permanent residents, whether we have naturalised to become citizens of Norway or not, we still have the blood of Ghana in usand we can possibly learn from Norway as a developed country to help our motherland Ghana to move a step further on the global development agenda”, he stated.
He said he represented Ghanaians in Kristiansand, Southern Norway (Agder) on the board of the NUGN and that the excitement of Ghanaians in Agder for the inauguration of the NUGN followed the same excitement when the Embassy of Ghana was opened a year ago in Oslo, capital of Norway.
According to Kyei-Boateng one of the important indices that has brought Norway this far, as a developed country in United Nations (UN) terms, is Equality.
He noted Norway threw away inequalities to embrace equalities in Gender, in Age, in Pay, in Politics as in decision making process, in titles and even in human rights and called on colleague Ghanaians living in Norway to emulate and learn from believing in Equality.
On Population Control, Kyei-Mensah noted that any country that fails to plan along with its population, heads into the ditch and suggested that once unemployment is both national and global security threats, the government of Ghana needs to review its population control mechanisms and if possible, have a new model and a compelling one at that.
“In Norway, which is a rich country for example, birth rate is 1.8% (almost 2.0%). People give birth to one child, sometimes two on the average. Few give birth to three or more.
This birth rate, by population wise, helps Norway to, at least, plan the future of the country alongside development.”
“In Ghana, birth rate is considered to be 3.0%, but the question is: are the citizens following any birth rate at all?
Answering in the negative, he indicated that people especially, poor families in rural Ghana, are giving birth to five, six and sometimes 10 children contributing to the high incidence of unemployment still hanging around the neck of government like an albatross.
“This situation”, he said, “calls for a new population control model to solve unemployment problems”.
He, however commended the Ghana Embassy in Oslo, for collaborating with the local Ghana unions in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, Kristiansand, to achieve this feat of NUGN and applauded the Ghana’s Ambassador to Norway, Jennifer Lartey for her immense contribution towards the formation of the National Union.
The NUGN Board Secretary assured that once the Embassy is having consular services for Ghanaians in Norway, Finland and Iceland, the Board of the NUGN would consider strategising to have another inaugural ceremony in 2022 for one big Union of Ghanaians in the three Nordic regions of Norway, Finland and Iceland.