I always believed that Norway is one of the best countries with the most open arms to diversity. But at this time, I find my beliefs completely shaken.

DISAPOINTED. Chiemeka Simeon Uzochukwu believes the proposed introduction of a student tuition fee is problematic. PHOTO: Truls Skram Lerø

Dear Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ola Borten Moe:

I am a Nigerian. I am from a country where for the last eight months, university students have been out of school due to the prolonged strike caused by the government’s neglect of the lecturers and staff of universities.

I am from a country where education is not only expensive but almost worthless as a result of the flawed political, economic, and systemic systems in place. I am from a country where even we, the citizens, do not get to have an education for free. 

There are no excuses to be made for how bad our leaders have failed us or how terrible our system is. 

And so you can rightly ask: If I could not get free education in my own country, what right do I have to enjoy free education in Norway; a country that is not mine? 

I will answer you straight away and honestly: You are right. I have no right or claim to study for free here in Norway because I am not a Norwegian.

But then, we cannot always hold on to “rights”. When it comes to humanity, everything is placed on hold so that humanity can be prioritized and persist – at least so I was taught. Perhaps you were taught differently. 

My secondary school teacher would usually say “when we emphasize so much about our right, we forget about our left”. Funny and paradoxical as this sounded, I always saw the truth in it. 

In this case, the “right” dimension will insist that I am not a Norwegian. I am not from the European Economic Area. And so I should not study in Norway for free. The “left” dimension that is left out, that you have left out as well, is the fact that I am human. 

I am human just like the Norwegians and the citizens of the countries within the European Economic Area for which you have sided. I am a human person who did not choose where he would be born, just like you and other human persons did not choose where to be born. 

Perhaps we are lesser humans and do not deserve to enjoy the privilege of having education for free. 

I am not a Norwegian and I certainly have no right to tell you how to rule your country, but this is my honest belief about your policy.

My reason for speaking about this new policy is simple: I understood how bad your policy means for the oneness of humanity, for the better world that we have all been trying to build, for the dignity with which I and many others have always held Norway and for the diversified but inclusive global community that the world so stands in need of. 

This policy can contribute to creating a divide in the world where Europeans are considered superior. Can this tear away the long-lasting image that Norway has built before the whole international community?

I had always believed that Norway has continued to remain one of the best countries with the most open arms to diversity. But at this time, I find my beliefs completely shaken given your proposal to introduce payment of tuition fees for a particular group of persons; marked out by their life’s circumstances, about which they had no control. 

Congratulations Sir, I now see you as someone who does not want diversity and equality in the Norwegian State.

Studvest har vært i kontakt med Kunnskapsdepartementet. De ønsket ikke å imøtegå kritikken med et svarinnlegg.