Re: The Educated Non-Immigrant
7/10/2012 10:41:21 AM -
I read with glee an article 'Educated Non Immigrant' which Mr. Anyan a former student of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology authored The article carried on ModernGhana.com(June 21, 2012) though spewed many controversies and some shallow conclusions, there was one legitimate point it forcefully made - ''beneficiaries of the quota schemes abroad must return and rebuild their torn homeland. There is no place like home. Can anyone call someone's home his home? Even if American lottery system has conferred American citizenship on you, you cannot call it your home.
Recalcitrant students however, who refuse to return home after their courses are made to refund the fund invested in their education''.
In the midst of these checks, there are other opportunities available which could make a student stay beyond the two year mandate if he or she decides to.
Mr Anyan, who was also a quota recipient faulted some of his colleagues for engaging in ego- denting jobs such as paper distribution, cleaning and dish washing in hotels which downplayed the essence of the scheme. He stated that these engagements do not only fall outside their training as their 'knowledge and skills are irrelevant but are also 'less remunerated.'
'The underdevelopment in Africa as always described by the BBC's and CNN's shall forever remain if we fail to influence our countries with the knowledge, skills and education we've received abroad. As intellectuals we should not sit unconcerned about the development of Africa and our respective countries, because the earlier we realise the need to return home to develop our country the earlier we shall also enjoy the fruits of our own developed countries where we shall live comfortably and peacefully and be remunerated satisfactorily and also without working as newspaper distributors or dish washers with a second degree, and looking on our shoulders to see who is coming,' he concluded.
Mr Anyan in his analysis lacked holistic knowledge over the conditions of a quota student in Norway and displayed a very narrow and twisted view of development and the essence of university education.
The Norwegian government gives a monthly stipend of 6000 plus but less than 7000 Norwegian Kroner to each student under the quota scheme out of which he or she pays rent, electricity bills and again clothe and fend for him or herself. The cost of living for an average student according to the calculations of the Norwegian authorities is pegged around 8000 Kroner which leaves a deficit of 2000 Kroner monthly hence students are granted work permit of twenty hours in a week. However, a student could decide not work and depend on other means to live.
It is a fact that most students engage in cleaning and newspaper distribution jobs mainly because of language barrier. However, others who are able to speak Norsk (Norwegian language) quickly find themselves in perhaps other jobs that Mr Anyan may describe as 'decent.' Many students (creative and resourceful ones of course) who take advantage of this opportunity are able to make a lot of money to supplement what they receive from the Norwegian government, remit relatives at home and are able to raise enough capital to set up their own businesses upon their return to their homelands, build houses for themselves within the two year period and get home to start life on a good note. An avis budet could earn an average of 3000 to 5000 or even more every two weeks and when converted to Ghana cedis could be equivalent to 900 to 1500 Ghana cedis within two weeks. A cleaner in Norway earns 150 Kroner or more per hour. So it is baseless for Mr Anyan to say such workers are less remunerated. If Mr Anyan has ever worked in Ghana before and ever tasted the stings of low payments in the face of high cost of living, he would appreciate with a conscious mind that Norway has offered something more than quota stipend. The system is such that even non-quota students are able to self - finance their education.
In Norway for that matter most European countries no work is regarded decent whereas others are indecent and that cleaning jobs are not limited to a particular groups of people perhaps the blacks. Everybody's engagement is seen as contributing to national development and all are treated with dignity not on the basis of their profession as it is in most African countries where cleaners, labourers, even drivers for example are treated not only with disdain but as second class humans whose contribution to national development is insignificant as compared to doctors, engineers, politicians etc. This is demonstrated in the salary structure where the hourly rate of all workers including those we perceive as high profile workers is same. A cleaner could afford the latest car just as a doctor, an engineer or a politician could do. In such jurisdictions parochial labour agitations from splinter professional groups is not common. The recent labour unrest in Norway encompassed all workers which saw an increase of 10 Kroner in the hourly rate for all workers.
In most African countries for that matter Ghana jobs are categorised - one is respected or not depending on the job he or she does. This colonial morality rooted in the imperialist policy used people from the northern sector of the country as cleaners, night soil bearers, labourers etc. under this dizzy pretext that most were illiterates. What academia fails to do is to disabuse this obsolete and myopic mentality that tied some professions to illiteracy for example cleaning and labouring. Academia fails to appreciate that if epidemic strikes, it does not know who is socially powerful or a weak. When in 1918 influenza pandemic rocked the globe, an estimated 675,000 Americans out of which an estimated 43,000 servicemen mobilised for the WW1 died of the disease. The year 1918 was marked as an unforgettable year of suffering and death. The recent cholera out- break in Ghana knew not who is a respected person or not.
This cruel and selfish idea also formed basis for our salary structure where cleaners or labourers are paid as low as 50 Ghana cedis and the so called elites enjoy fat salaries and allowances even though they all depend on the same market for their living. The Single Spine Salary Scheme recently introduced still leaves the vile discrimination in salaries unsolved. As a result there is an official infliction of economic pain on most citizens creating two societies - classy society and poverty endowed people with sunken stomachs bearing brunt of the excruciating economic situations officialdom has created.
The essence of a university education is not specialization and absolutely not about fitting into the stereotype of your chosen course. The university is precisely called a university because in it we find the vast universe of knowledge and those who go to university are supposed to immerse ourselves in it. jsmadrinan.blogspot.com/.
Mr Anyan added his voice to the superficial view of most African scholars that the moment one pursues university education he or she must be in an elongated neck tie with file in hand, stuck in the heart of air-conditioned office and issue command which must not be defiled. So the mind set of most university students is that of arrogance instead of humility. This arrogance makes them so stereotyped waiting to perform only what they learnt instead of diversifying their tentacles to venture into other areas. It is a shame and self- disappointment to the highest degree for graduates to congregate into Association of Unemployed Graduates (AUG). Would it not be more prudent for them to form maybe cleaning companies to clean the filth in Accra and generate huge income and also employ their brothers and sisters from Senior High Schools and Junior High Schools in need of holiday jobs than forming AUG which reduces university graduates to puppets in hands of over ambitious politicians seeking political glory? Many people in Ghana are jobless not because there are no jobs but because they feel too big to do certain jobs.
In Ghana, newspapers are mostly vended in the streets with its concomitant dangers it exposes both motorists and the vendors to. Recently, Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA) had for very good reasons decided to stop people selling in the streets. Perhaps, it is time for people like Mr. Anyan who witnessed how newspaper distribution is managed in Europe to quickly come out with proposals to the Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times and other private newspaper companies on how to distribute newspapers to subscribers at home in order to create employment for Ghanaians and reduce the dangers of selling in street. This attitude could make him a better university graduate than waiting to practice his psychology.
Mr Anyan wrote about people defiling the side effects of intense cold of sometimes negative 20 degrees. However, in Ghana the weather is favourable and may bring little or no ailment to who will engage in the newspaper distribution business. Even if there are side effects in the newspaper distribution at dawn in Ghana its effects could be well managed than to be knocked down by some reckless driver while selling in the street.
In Europe Avisbudet as they are called in Norway must be computer literate and be able to navigate the internet with ease. This is because the whole system is automated. A route could have more than 50 houses with different street names and house numbers. A house could take two or three different papers with varied numbers of them. Each day some subscribers sever their subscription and at the same time there are new ones coming on board. So one could imagine how herculean it is to distribute papers because it needs a lot of intellectual strength to be able to succeed.
Poverty in Ghana for that matter Africa will be minimised if people are willing perhaps work 'as newspaper distributors or dish washers with a second degree' if people like Anyan universalised their thinking and free themselves of that archaic mentality that you can only influence the development of one's country with the course he or she pursued.
A reflective and creative graduate must go beyond that in order to demystify that certain jobs are limited to certain class of people.