“Some think a good welfare system is just an expense, but in reality it’s an investment,” said King Harald, speaking to researchers and students in Beijing.
“Access to free schools and generous financial support schemes for higher education students, regardless of gender and family background, is absolutely necessary,” the King continued during Monday’s speech.
China has long been interested in the Norwegian welfare system, and Chinese authorities and researchers have looked into whether similar arrangements can be implemented in the country.
“Our countries have a different history and culture, but one of the things that make our countries good and secure is the ambition to create a welfare system for all. In this process, we want to learn from each other, His Royal Highness said at a seminar for social scientists organized by NUPI in collaboration with the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Just welfare is one of the main themes at the seminar. The Norwegian King said that the development of a strong welfare state in the post-war period was one of the strategies that has led to progress in Norway during his lifetime.
– Equality is a key factor in prosperity. Recognizing that men and women have equal rights and must secure equal opportunities are essential to creating an inclusive and just society. In Norway, we have developed a generous system for maternity leave and kindergartens. In fact, we have found that the value of women’s participation in the workforce is as big as the income from our oil resources. I understand that China has a similar level of female participation in working life, he said.
The King also praised China for raising hundreds of millions of residents out of poverty in recent decades, showing the UN’s sustainability goals.
“The steps China has taken has been crucial. No other country has contributed more to goal number one: to eradicate poverty in all its forms everywhere,” he said.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today