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Inspirational Tuesday: Education Has No End

April 13, 2010

Akasease Kofi Boakye Yiadom just graduated from university in his native Ghana at the age of 99.

A World War II veteran and former teacher, Yiadom enrolled at Presbyterian University College’s business school aged 96.

He urges other college students to resist the temptations of higher salaries in other countries to stay in Ghana. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over one million Ghanaians migrated from 2000 to 2007, creating a serious “brain drain” that has affected many sectors of Ghana, most notably in health care.

Due to the migration, many districts didn’t have a doctor, and some wards didn’t even have a nurse in the early 2000s. The impact is noticeable in a higher infant mortality rate.

But staying in Ghana has means making sacrifices, especially in financial security. One recent graduate reasoned, “I want to make money, to help the poor. [In Ghana] There’s no work. There’s massive unemployment, so after education there’s nothing to do.”

A tough choice in many ways, and perhaps there is a middle ground. Some graduates migrate, and then return to Ghana. By doing this, they still contribute and go back. In addition, they also carry a lot of knowledge and money back to Ghana, which helps communities and the country in general.

Regardless of this debate, what Yiadom was able to achieve at the age of 99 is remarkable. He hopes to inspire other students to follow in his footsteps in graduating college and staying in Ghana.

He’s a living example to show that there is no age limit to education. If you live, you can learn.

“Education has no end,” Yiadom says. “As far as your brain can work alright, your eyes can see alright, and your ears can hear alright, if you go to school you can learn.”

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