ABSTRACT

The aim of this thesis was to point out the need for renewable energy education in Ghana and to study the possibilities of education export from Finland. Ghana was chosen as the target country based on personal and professional interest. Ghana is currently facing a severe energy shortage due to inefficient energy resources and growing consumption. In order for new energy technologies to work education is needed. BioSampo, a vocational education provider from Kouvola, was chosen as a case subject to review the possibilities of education export from Finland.

The information in this thesis was discovered through interviews with the manager of Atlas Business and Energy System Limited (ABES) and the head of BioSampo Training and Research Centre. Various research papers and internet sources were also consulted.

The results of the study indicate that the demand for renewable energy education in Ghana is high. The government’s target is to include new renewable energy technologies to the energy mix. In result the demand for education increases drastically. A remarkable amount of barriers to the dissemination of renewable energy technologies may be overcome if the potential stake holders are made energy conscious by providing them all the relevant information about various issues involved.

In addition the results indicate that education export from Finland has huge potential. Finland has an excellent selection of educational programs, renewable energy being one of them. The analysis of the case study deepens the understanding of the education export. Based on the information obtained, it is advisable for Finnish educational institutions to turn their focus on Ghana in the education export market.

1 INTRODUCTION

“Bioenergy and education of its use has the potential of solving numerous problems in the developing countries including poverty and lack of food.” This was an idea introduced to me by one of the pioneers of bioenergy programs, Juha Soilio. The concept of bioenergy interest me highly and as a marketer, finding a solution to the big issues through business and marketing was an intriguing thought.

Today the importance of energy has become more and more discussed in the public. A growing amount countries have become energy conscious setting energy goals in a result of decreasing energy sources. The concept of energy is important because it affects a country as a whole. Energy consumption effects productivity, economic growth, global networking as well as its adverse effects on climatic change. How does energy link to education? The power of education can also be considered as important or even more important. The need for renewable energy education and training at all levels is globally recognized. During the last three decades a large number of countries across the globe have initiated academic programs on renewable energy technologies and related aspects. Without sufficient training or education innovative energy solutions can’t be used effectively. In a nutshell education also effects a country as a whole, linking to a country’s economic growth, employment and productivity.

The aim of this thesis is to point out the need for renewable energy education in Ghana and to study the possibilities of education export from Finland. BioSampo, a vocational education provider from Kouvola, was chosen as a case subject.

Ghana was chosen as the target country based on personal and professional interest. Ghana is currently facing a severe energy shortage as a result of inefficient energy resources and growing energy consumption. If new technologies are applied the need for education is inevitable. There is ongoing cooperation with Ghana from a handful of schools in Finland but more can be done. In general African countries have not been included in high demand business plans. It is important to include Africa to the scene and examine the potentials while still remaining relevantly untouched by the big masses.

The first chapters of this thesis work will review the energy situation in Ghana and provide insight to the role of renewable energy sources as well as the importance of education in the renewable energy scene. The following chapters will issue the education export situation in Finland and provide the reader with an example case, BioSampo. In conclusion this thesis work provides suggestions for Finnish educational institutions in marketing educational programs in Ghana.

Qualitative research method was chosen for this thesis. The method was chosen because qualitative research aims for studying the object or subject comprehensively. Qualitative research methods usually include inductive approaches and information is often gathered through interviews, documents or discussions. Compared to the quantitative research method, the qualitative research provides the researcher flexibility to change plans according to circumstances.
It is important to note that previous studies regarding education export to Ghana have not been presented. On the other hand numerous studies about renewable energy solutions and about the severe energy shortage have been published. The studies include, among others, numerous PhD, Thesis and Masters works. The information in this thesis was discovered through various sources. Multiple internet sources were consulted including various research papers. I visited the premises of BioSampo in October 2015. The head of BioSampo, Juha Soilio, introduced and explained the concept of BioSampo and their different education packages. I was also able to travel to Accra, Ghana during December 2015. I was able to observe the culture and fortunate to interview Sakeena Twumasi from CREEI (Center for Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship and Innovation). Mrs. Twumasi is the Production Manager of Atlas Business and Energy System Limited (ABES) as well as a Principal Lecturer for CREEI. She is an expert in photo-voltaic system, design and installation. Her expertise in the renewable energy education scene enabled me to understand the energy situation in Ghana thoroughly.