SPEECH BY THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT, HON. COLLINS SEY DURING GHANA-CHINA ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL WEEK CELEBRATION ORGANIZED BY DUAPA-AFRICA ON 12TH OCTOBER, 2020 VIA ZOOM CONFERENCE.
The President, expressed his profound gratitude to DUAPA Africa for the invitation and the opportunity to be part of the program. in his speech which enlightened participants about the mission and vision of NUGS-China. He said, NUGS-China seeks the academic, social and general welfare of Ghanaian students in China with the support of the Ghana Embassy in China.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED BY BOTH COUNTRIES DURING THE 60 YEARS RELATIONSHIP?
Hon. Collins Sey gave a short history about the China-Ghana relation. He said, the Diplomatic relations between Ghana and China was established in July 1960. The founders of the two republics laid a solid foundation of bilateral ties. The two countries have recorded quite significant achievements and as such need to be acknowledged. He further highlighted some development that both countries have experienced through this relation. He said, The China-Ghana relation has tremendously benefited both countries in the areas of Education, Economics, Healthcare, Agriculture etc.
Education: Scholarship for Ghanaian students
To encourage Ghanaians students to study abroad, China has instituted a wide range of scholarship systems to assist Ghanaian students.
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), is one area of cooperation that has experienced a dramatic growth is China’s investments in human capital and professional training for Africans. Owing to the goal of FOCAC which seeks to train 1,000 Africans, hosting 50,000 workshops (in areas as diverse as party politics, sports medicine, agriculture, etc.) and awarding 50,000 government scholarships, so far, China is one of the largest countries providing human resource training and capacity building support to Ghana. The export of students from Ghana to China which has increased significantly gives a clear indication of a deepened China-Ghana relation over the past years.
Ghana’s ambassador to China, H.E Edward Boateng, in his statement during the 60 years celebration highlighted the expansion and strengthening of educational exchanges between both countries. It is estimated that, there are more than 6,000 Ghanaian students pursuing various degree programmes ranging from Health Profession, Engineering, Business Administration, Social Sciences and others at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels, spanning across about 31 provinces of China. This makes Ghana one of the largest international students’ population from Africa.
Ghanaians who have studied in China so far and have returned home are making notable impact on Ghana’s socio-economic development through their knowledge and skills acquired during their study period. Chinese students who have also been involved in exchange programs to Ghana have also benefited greatly from knowledge and insights derived from these exchange programs and hence contributing to China’s developmental projects.
He therefore advocated for a deepened relation between Ghana and China in educational exchange programs and scholarship awards in the coming years.
In the area of Internship opportunities, the President said, some Ghanaian students have also been the beneficiaries of the bilateral relation. Students who have engaged in internships have been able to share knowledge and experience from this internship opportunity, as well as learning the Chinese work model and adopting in the Ghanaian working context.
He therefore used the platform to inform Chinese officials about the readiness of Ghanaian students for internship opportunities that will shape their future career path.
In the area of economic cooperation, sectors such as investment, agriculture, trade and infrastructure, are indicators of good cooperation between China and Ghana. There have been exchanges that have promoted irrigation, agricultural technology, agro processing, agricultural infrastructure and technology development. Ghana is part of the Belt and Road initiative, which has observed some Chinese companies spearheading some projects that have created job opportunities for Ghanaian graduates– especially those familiar with China, the Chinese language, and work ethics.
Due to familiarity with the Chinese culture and language, these Chinese companies in Ghana rely on some of our graduates from the various institutions in China as employees.
In addition, the encouragement by the Chinese government to Chinese banks in setting up the China-Africa Development Fund that will support reputable Chinese companies to invest in projects in Africa that create employments, foster technological progress and promote development by the two countries is a step in the right direction.
Students hope to see continuous advancement in the areas of investment, between Ghana and China that will explore new areas for project developments.
In the advent of boosting internationalization of higher education, International students form an essential component, of which a large number of international students in China are Ghanaians. The prevalent presence of international students is an indication of the strength in higher education and a corresponding cultural influence. International students have the potential of bringing significant academic and economic implications to both the host and source countries. These significant implications include enhancement of international influence, accelerating the pace of developing leading universities and promoting international culture exchanges. Since the number of international students is expected to grow continuously over the coming years, we look forward to an equivalent growth in our countries’ academic and economic sectors through our China-Ghana relation.
China continues to train for Ghana through in the area of medicine and healthcare delivery through the various top notch medical institutions in China. These medical students help to increase quality of healthcare service in Ghana with respect to supply of labour at the various health sectors in Ghana. Nevertheless, there are issues about accreditation of some medical institution by the Ghana Medical and Dental Council. We believe this medium could be leveraged to get accreditation for some of the medical schools that our members belong to.
Students look forward to a more deepened bilateral relation that will ensure accreditation of more Medical Schools.
Challenges From the Students Perspectives
The President said, although a lot has been put in place to attract more international students, there are still bits of challenges. Scholarship acquisition still remains a challenge for some Ghanaian students who are currently enrolled on a partial or no scholarship programs and this sometimes lead to abandoning of the program. He used the opportunity to appeal and sort for some scholarship opportunities for already enrolled students who are on partial or no scholarship programs and have some challenges.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented human and humanitarian challenges which has forced the adoption of new ways of doing things. Despite our deepened relations, our fellow colleagues who need to make use of scientific lab resources are still not able to return to China to proceed with their studies smoothly.
Students look forward to seeing the return of our fellow colleagues whose studies are on hold due to this pandemic
Maximizing the Ghana-China Relation
In acknowledging the great achievement of the Ghana-China Relation over the past year, it is also very important to explore some opportunities available within this union (NUGS-China) that will drive economic growth of the two countries. These opportunities include the Students Project Exhibition and Problem–Solving Contest to be organized by this union.
The students’ project exhibition aims to create avenues for companies and other bodies to be present for a project exhibition by students of this union. Our members will have the opportunity to show projects that they are embarking on to possible investors and employers who will be present at this exhibition program. This will be an opportunity for companies, investors and bodies seeking to invest into potential ground breaking projects and also to create a link between student studying and China and our industries in China, Ghana and other places as well.
The Problem-Solving Contest seeks to unearth real solutions to problems that exist in our country or around us, from our members. Members who sign up (group sign up) for this contest will be presented with sectors of focus with identifiable problems that need solutions. By this, Ghanaian students studying in China will highly be recognized in contributing to solving problems in Ghana and China by the brilliant submissions in the contest.
Students hope to see a deepened bilateral relation through participation by companies, bodies and institution from both countries to harness these opportunities.
In conclusion, Hon. Collins Sey reinstated, as much as we continue to seek for growth and development, we will continue to ensure that our efforts as students studying in China will strongly maintain relations and cooperation between both countries with a notable concern of mutual benefits.