Interview sessions are underway in Bolgatanga, Upper East regional capital, organised by the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat to select and to support tertiary students too deprived to pay their tuition fees.
Deputy Registrar of the secretariat, Ms. Lydia Darko-Acheampong, told newsmen Friday every student who applied would be considered so long as they met the criteria for the package.
“Every Ghanaian who has gained admission into a local tertiary institution in Ghana, who is needy— it doesn’t matter whether you are a fresh student or a continuing student— qualifies for this local tertiary scholarship award.
“The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, said, ‘Move to the regions. Don’t stay in Accra. Take the scholarships to the doorsteps of the deprived students’. That is why we are here in the Upper East region. The other teams are in the other regions, doing what we are doing here. It’s a national tour. We are in the north for 17 days for now,” said the Deputy Registrar.
“I’ve Sat in the House for almost 5 Years”— Poor Applicant
A number of applicants who showed up for interviews Friday at the Residency spoke to newsmen about the troubles they had faced paying their tuition fees.
Rahinatu Mahmudu, carrying a 3-month-old baby boy and close to tears, said: “I’m happy they’ve come to help us. We are 4 our parents gave birth to and how to cater for us to go to school is a problem. After my SHS, I’ve sat in the house for almost 5 years now. I’ve been offered admission to pursue a Diploma in Basic Education at the University of Education Winneba.”
Whilst Thelma Asoba, a level-200 Real Estate student at the Wa Campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS), explained she applied for the scholarship “because it has been difficult paying tuition fees in addition to other things.” A first-year student at the Bolgatanga Polytechnic, Romeo Ayatah Jnr, said, “We are 3 children, all going to school this year, and it’s a burden on my dad to cater for the three, and my course, Graphic Design, is very broad with so much practical work”.
“I like to thank the President for this opportunity,” said Esther Asoba, a student at the Bolgatanga Midwifery College. “It would ease the burden on my old parents if I go through. And I promise we wouldn’t disappoint him (the President) by learning very hard and coming out successful.”
Maurice A. Abaare, a law student at the University of Cape Coast, told the media: “Since day one, it hasn’t been easy. I am unemployed. I’m actually on my own. I have nobody to take care of me. Having heard of the Scholarship Secretariat, it gave me hope. That is why I decided to seek refuge here.”
Show Appreciation through Hard Work— NPP Reg. Chair tells Applicants
The Upper East Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Lawyer Anthony Namoo, welcomed the first batch of applicants to the maiden interview conference of the scholarship scheme with a call for dedication to their studies to justify the support received.
“It is my hope that the only way you can say you are happy or you appreciate what they’ve given you is to study hard. So, don’t go and be sleeping [and get obsessed with the social media] instead of learning.
“The only way you can appreciate what the Scholarship Secretariat is doing for you is to study hard so that it will be said that when they gave you the scholarship, you studied so well that Mother Ghana would benefit hundredfold from your knowledge,” he remarked.
Speaking to journalists as applicants took turns to interact with an interview panel, the NPP Upper East Regional Organiser, Jerry Asamani, emphasised qualified applicants would be selected regardless of their political shades.
“This is not about NPP,” he stressed. “It is about the region. The poor, the needy students in the region. To those who are here, we have not asked who is what? We only put the information out there and people have come in with their admission letters. It’s not about NPP. This scholarship is not about colours. It’s about the needy.”
How the Scholarship Came About
The Local Tertiary Scholarship initiative, according to the Deputy Registrar, was not in existence until the NPP, led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, took over the management of the country in 2017.
“This initiative wasn’t there. When we assumed office, the Registrar, Mr. Kingsley Agyeman, and management including myself came up with this idea that we want to carve something that would also benefit students who are enrolled in local tertiary institutions. As you can see, we have scholarship awards given to people who go to China, Russia, Morocco and all that, and also second-cycle institutions like Hardship Merit Scholarship.
“But we said, ‘We are all Ghanaians. What about those who have also gained admission here in Ghana to study— in our Legons, in our Cape Coast Universities, K-N-U-S-Tees, polytechnics, nursing training colleges’. It was discussed by the Chief of Staff and the President. The President said, ‘Let’s make this vision a reality to take the burden off parents in deprived areas.’ That is the whole idea and it has come to stay,” Ms. Lydia Darko-Acheampong said.
Source: Ghana/Starrfmonline.com/103.5FM/Edward Adeti