Eric Buah, Ghana | Vocational Teacher Education

Teacher studies open up Finnish education

"Studying at JAMK’s Vocational Teacher Education has been fun and a life changing experience. I like the flexibility in learning and the autonomous entrepreneurial classroom environment created by the teacher trainers."

Eric Buah, a Ghanaian professional in the field of Engineering and Business Administration, started his teacher studies at JAMK’s Teacher Education College to become a qualified teacher and to learn more about Finnish success in education. Below he tells about the studies in his own words.

Who are you?

My name is Eric Buah. I am from Ghana. My background is in Engineering and Business Administration. I am a Doctoral Researcher at the Department of Energy and Environmental Technology at Lappeenranta University of Technology. Before joining the International Vocational Teacher programme at JAMK Teacher Education College, I pursued a two-year Master of Science degree in Economics and Business Administration with specialization in Entrepreneurship and Family Business Management at Jyvaskyla University School of Business and Economics.

How is life in Finland?

I have lived in Finland for five years. Varkaus was my first place in Finland as a student. I undertook a Bachelor of Engineering degree at Savonia University of Applied Sciences in Varkaus in Industrial Management.

I came to Finland through education after I passed the Finnish University of Applied Sciences entrance exams in Ghana in 2007. Before that, I had a fair idea about Finland because my former school in Ghana (Cape Cost Polytechnic) had a student exchange program with Vaasa University of Applied Science.

Being in Finland has been an “eye-opener” because I have learnt many things and broadened my cultural experience. The two most important values I will always take back home are honesty and equal opportunity. My life in Finland has neither been rosy nor bad because of cultural differences. But I must be honest that I have been lucky to meet many wonderful Finnish friends who have been a source of motivation and helped me to integrate into Finnish society. In summer, my friends sometimes invite me to their summer cottages for fishing and sauna and it has been a wondering experience in Finland.

What have you done in your career before this?

In Ghana, I was an Electrical and Entrepreneurship instructor at Integrated Community Centre for Employable Skills (ICCES) before leaving to further my education in Finland. ICESS is an agency under the Ghana Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare set up by the Ghanaian Government to combat youth unemployment, rural-urban drift and contribute to the development of micro- and small-scale enterprise amongst the youth. I also worked at Ghana Consolidated Diamonds Limited and Ashanti Goldfield Bibiani Limited in the field of Electrical Engineering.

How is it to study here in Finland? How about in the JAMK’s teacher education group?

I like Finnish education because of the kind of flexibility given to students to think for themselves and bring out the creativity in them with less influence from teachers. Of course, cultural differences play a critical role in this but I like the idea that there are no-dead ends for anyone in education in Finland no matter where you started, be it from a vocational or secondary level. To me, this is missing in the Ghanaian education system and such a linear approach to designing education creates inequality in the society if we are thinking from a sustainable development perspective. I may be wrong since there have been many improvements in Ghana’s education in recent times, so this observation reflects my own opinion.

Studying at JAMK’s teacher education has been fun and a life changing experience. I like the flexibility in learning and the autonomous entrepreneurial classroom environment created by the teacher trainers. This has helped me to be in charge of my own learning and learn at my own pace according to my Personal Learning Plan. The multicultural environment has also become a resource for me to learn more about others because we have students from different countries.

Why are you studying to become a teacher?

I am not only studying to become a teacher to impact knowledge but also as an opportunity to learn more about the idea behind Finnish success in education on an international level so that I can take this knowledge back home and contribute to the development of education in Ghana.

What do you find best in your studies?

I like the mode of study because it is flexible and fits my schedule well. I found it very interesting that I am able to tailor the studies to my own needs. This has given me the opportunity to concentrate on developing my pedagogical competence in facilitating learning in my fields of interest of Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development.

How do the studies fit into your life?

They fit well into my life because of the flexible learning environment. I found it motivating that the teacher trainers are always there for me whenever I have a problem be it academic or anything that is likely to affect my studies. It doesn’t matter where I am. I am still able to reach them either by phone, text messages, email and even Facebook depending on which one I find flexible to use.

To whom would you recommend the studies?

I would recommend this to anyone because of the international focus of JAMK Vocational Teacher Education with Finnish taste (context). These studies would also be of interest to those who are not only looking for professional teaching qualification like me but also want to take the opportunity presented by  these studies to learn more about the Finnish education system and why Finland is now at the forefront of education on an international level. This teacher education offers a platform for such learning in the course of developing your own competence as a teacher.

Do you have any hints for the application process?

Of course! The application period is open on January and the application form and all information are available online.


Vocational Teacher Education is a 60 ECTS credits post-degree programme. Annual application perios is on January. Find out more and apply!

Vocational Teacher Education