Honorable Dan Botwe, Minister Designate of Regional Reorganization and Special Development, Member of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana,
Honorable Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Member of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana,
Respected Secretary General and Friends from Ghana-China Friendship Association,
Respected Traditional Leaders,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Teachers and Students,
Happy New Year and good morning! It is a great pleasure to come to the Eastern Region again. I have set foot upon this piece of land for many times since I assumed the office of Chinese Ambassador to Ghana. Every year I will boat along the Volta River appreciating green mountains surrounded by mist, which makes me feel like in a fairyland, and I cannot help wondering the uncanny power of the great nature. At the beginning of the new year, I once again come here to witness the inauguration of an ICT centre aided by the Chinese Embassy in Ghana to Adeiso Junior High School, and no words can explain my joy at all.
The newly-elected President of the Republic of Ghana H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, pride of your hometown, once said that every Ghanaian child, no matter the circumstances of their birth, must have a fair chance to strive for a happy and dignified life. It’s true that the Ghanaian government invests one third of its annual revenue in the field of education. In recent years a number of high schools have been built, free SHS education has been introduced, and the educational environment has been improved. By the end of 2015, Ghana’s literacy rate had risen to 76.6%. Yet when I read the introduction of the schools in this district, my mood grew a bit heavy. There are still many challenges as uneven distribution of educational resources, poor school facilities, and inadequate teaching personnel here and in rural and remote places. This badly hampers the cultivation of local talents.
China used to face the same problem. Due to various reasons, high-quality teaching resources are centred around the provincial capital cities and the economically developed eastern part of China. The quality of education in the western part of China and remote rural areas is relatively poor. This situation has been greatly addressed in recent years. Since 2006, the Chinese government has gradually incorporated rural compulsory education into public finance, and invested billions of Chinese yuan each year to establish a mechanism to secure funding. Thus free compulsory education in rural areas was fully implemented, making the Chinese dream that everyone is entitled to be educated come true. In 2014, the Chinese government began to actively promote the standardization of schools in compulsory education stage, improved the conditions of rural disadvantaged schools, and achieved balanced development of compulsory education in every county. By the end of 2015, nearly half of the counties in China achieved this goal. The central government has also carried out favorable policies to provide subsistence allowances and ad hoc positions to teachers in destitute areas. These measures have effectively alleviated the shortage of teachers in rural areas in China, and the student-to-faculty ratio in rural schools has been further narrowed.
The Chinese government is fully aware of the important role of education in the country’s development, and places educational cooperation at priority in China-Ghana cooperation. Last year, a total of 518 Ghanaian students received various kinds of scholarships to study in China and made the number of Ghanaian students in China surpassing 4,600, ranking first among all African countries for three consecutive years. More than 1,000 Ghanaian professionals took part in vocational training programs in China, the number ranking first in the world. Besides, China also helped Ghana to improve its teaching infrastructure. China has aided construction of primary schools in rural areas, New Century Vocational Training School Expansion Project in Accra, the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho, and used the Chinese loan to implement Distance Education Project in the University of Ghana. Two Confucius Institutes have been established in Ghana. Since 2014, the Chinese Embassy has donated five “China-Ghana Friendship ICT Classrooms” in five regions in Ghana to enable the students in rural and remote areas to use the Internet and realize their dreams of hope.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear teachers and students,
The economy is the foundation for the development of education. Only by vigorously developing the economy can we truly and completely solve the problem of rural education development and uneven distribution of educational resources.
The New Patriotic Party government is committed to improving the economic situation in Ghana, achieving industrialization and economic transformation and upgrading through measures of “One district, One factory”, “One village, One dam”and “One million dollar annual fund for each constituency”. China and Ghana enjoy long-standing traditional friendship and the foundation of bilateral cooperation is well-built and the will on both sides to cooperate is strong. Our bilateral cooperation index in various areas are among the forefront in China-Africa cooperation. Last year China handed over the Cape Coast Sports Stadium and Kotokuraba Modern Market Project to the Ghanaian side. The major projects such as the Phase II of Gas Infrastructure Development Project, Sunon Asogli Zero Discharge 700MW Coal Plant and China-aided 1,000-borehole project, are progressing steadily. China is promoting international production capacity and equipment manufacturing cooperation, providing an unprecedented opportunity for Ghana’s industrialization. In recent years, an increasing number of Chinese and Ghanaian enterprises have been involved in this process, leading to early harvest in the area of automobile manufacturing, sanitation and shipbuilding. China is ready to support NPP government’s endeavors to develop economy. We will explore diversified ways of cooperation, vigorously participate in Ghana’s industrialization, agricultural modernization and overall regional development, implement more investment projects in Ghana and enhance Ghana’s capacity for self-sustained development.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear teachers and students,
Education determines the future of a country and its people. I hope that all the students in Adeiso Junior High School will make full use of these advanced facilities, study hard to achieve your dreams，make due contribution to the development of your Motherland Ghana, and write a new chapter for the friendship between our two countries.