“I want to congratulate Ghana for having a government which has declared a free high school education for all. It is a very important step to take; however, we must ensure quality of education for all students,” Mr Mykkanen said when he addressed both Ghanaian and Finnish businesses at a reception in Accra last Monday.
The reception was held to mark the visit of the Minister and his business delegation to Ghana and commemorate Finland’s 100 years of independence. Over 20 Finnish businesses are in Ghana to explore investment opportunities and match their interests with Ghanaian businesses.
The businesses operate in areas including telecommunications, power, renewable energy, education, road infrastructure, and meteorology.
The Finnish diplomat said he was happy with the fact that Ghana was investing heavily into education, adding: “I was quite impressed looking at the statistics showing the number of people receiving comprehensive education, especially the participation of girls in secondary education.”
According to Mr Mykkanen, Ghana’s 60 years could be compared with Finland's 60 years some 40 years ago. He pointed out that the next 40 years for Ghana will be one of stability and prosperity, much better and easier than the first 60 years.
Recalling that for Finland, the first 60 years were years of instability and poverty, the Finnish Minister said "congratulations for being able to survive the first 60 years after independence."
This is not the first time a foreign entity has commended the implementation of the education policy. In September this year, the African Union (AU) Commission praised the Ghanaian government for implementing the Free SHS policy, indicating that “it is a sure way of ensuring the growth of the country and Africa as a whole.”
The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, indicated that his ministry was feverishly working towards government’s vision of getting Ghana beyond aid, and was thus upbeat about Finnish collaboration in the area of technical and vocational education.
Ghana’s Ministry of Education, he said, saw its mandate as developing the human resource capacity of the country to feed into the ‘beyond aid’ vision.
“Even though the Finnish investors and businesses have assembled here to network with their Ghanaian businesses counterparts, a World Bank study had revealed that 80 per cent of all jobs revolved round technical and vocational education, and education still has a major role to play in business,” the Minister stressed.
Ghana was more than ready to leverage Finnish strengths in technical and vocational education to support its fledgling technical and vocational sector, “which we call skills development for Ghana to support the business-to-business interaction to move Ghana beyond aid.”