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Akufo Addo Awards Scholarship To 30,000 Tertiary Students

By Adu Koranteng

Some 30,000 students across the country from various tertiary institutions have had their tuition fees paid under the District Scholarship Scheme run by the Ghana Scholarships Secretariat after its introduction by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Launched in Takoradi in the Western region in July this year, the cutting edge reform is expected to drive the government’s developmental agenda by empowering the Metropolitans, Municipals and Districts to award scholarships to not only needy but brilliant students but deserving ones as well.

Justified

With funds of a minimum of  GHC60,000, GHC80,000 and GHC100,000 made available to the Districts, Municipals and Metropolitans respectively, the MMDAs received scholarships applications, organized selection interviews and made recommendations for awards.

After extensive interviews, some 30,000 students from the MMDAs, who qualified after appearing before the District Scholarship Review Committee, have been given scholarships.

The review committee comprised the chief executive of the assembly as the chairperson, a representative from the traditional authorities, a representative from a tertiary institution or the Ghana Education Service in the district/municipality and two representatives who were appointed by the Ghana Scholarships Secretariat.

The beneficiary students, pursuing different courses in several accredited post-secondary institutions, both private and public, received scholarships awards of diplomas to PhDs.

Possible together

Speaking to The New Crusading Guide in an interview , Registrar of the Ghana Scholarships Secretariat, Mr Kingsley Agyemang, disclosed that although there we some individuals who doubted the President when he assured that free meritorious tertiary education is possible, “Today we have seen that Ghanaians voted for a President who ‘walks the talk’. Free meritorious tertiary education is a possibility and it is here to stay.”

He indicated that the current arrangement will ensure that scholarship opportunities are distributed nationwide to the needy but brilliant students through the Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies.

“It is not surprising that a government which believes in decentralization has decided to take the award of scholarships to the local people. The government believes the people should have a critical role in deciding who gets scholarships in the area. This will even reduce the number of people who troop to our office in Accra in search of scholarships opportunities which might not be even available sometimes,” Mr Agyemang said.

Transparency and accessibility

According to the Registrar, the new process, which will be an annual affair, will not only ensure accessibility but transparency as well.

“In terms of transparency, the Scholarship Secretariat has and continues to operate an open-door policy. What this decentralization seeks to do is to now take this open-door policy right to the doorsteps of students in their districts. We are making sure all the major stakeholders become part of the process,” he said.

The Registrar of Scholarships also gave the assurance that the decentralization will carry everyone on board without discrimination.

“Let me assure you that this is a district/municipal level initiative, and as such no district/municipality was left out,” he said.

Mr Agyemang charged the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity afforded them by government, adding that the Akufo-Addo led government is keen on making quality education available to the youth.

He tasked the beneficiaries to pursue academic excellence to maintain their status on the award since the awards are annually renewable.

“As a Registrar, my core objective is to make every believing Ghanaian student able to trust that their efforts will be rewarded with a funding allowance that enables them to focus more on academics,” he said.

New ‘allowa’ for PhD students

Mr Agyemang revealed that there was a research and conference allowances for students on scholarships doing their postgraduate doctoral degree in the offing.

According to him, the decision will be communicated to all Ghana missions abroad very soon for immediate implementation. He said the decision was taken as a result of the government’s belief that PhD students incur a lot of cost when it comes to research and publications of their work into impact factor journals as well as attending of essential conferences.

Again, it is also in line with the decision made by the National Accreditation Board and the Ministry  of Education which require a doctoral degree as a prerequisite qualification for university teaching.

‘’In view if this, his Excellency the President has directed that we introduce what he calls Annual Research and Conference Allowances for PhD students,’’ Mr Agyemang told the Daily Graphic.

He explained further that the funds which will be accessible in January every year, will involve the PhD students applying to the Secretariat to access funding.

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