The meeting, hosted by Education Above All, happened right before the football match for the World Cup 2022, in Qatar, between Portugal and Ghana, where Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa showed his anxiety regarding the match, while also foreshadowing that Portugal should score three goals, which ended up happening.
The quick conversation focused on education and the Portuguese President of the Republic talked in the stance of a professor, his profession before becoming the Head of State of Portugal. Marcelo started his speech by mentioning that, just like a soccer team, education needs “freedom, to innovate scientifically, technologically”, so it is possible to improve “individually and collectively.” The first part of the speech was mainly focused on freedom in accessing education in Portugal, having the President mentioning that Portuguese students are mostly women, even Ph.D. students, contrary to what Nana Akufo-Addo mentioned regarding Ghana, where men still lead the access to education.
The President of Ghana stated that, a decade ago, access to education in its country was very limited, as people did not have the pay to keep on studying. Thus, the government extended free education, and Nana Akufo-Addo mention that “the impact has been dramatic.” The measure did not only influence students but also teachers, improving the quality of teaching courses at Ghana’s schools.
Both presidents agreed when it comes to reaching equity in accessing education, mentioning it as one of the goals for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. Regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or even nationality and wealth. However, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa points out that the Portuguese educational system needs to evolve, according to digital and social evolution. The Portuguese president also aims to open borders so high-school students “could circulate freely” to learn in other places “never forgetting it is a social goal.”
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa added that only with education the world will have sustainable development, whether it comes to environmental or social reality, underlining that “everyone must be at school.”
The conference ended when both presidents exchanged the t-shirt of each football team, with Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa gladly dressing up in Ghana’s football team's official t-shirt.