Hon. Minister (Western Region)
Hon. Deputy Minister of Education
Hon. Deputy Regional Minister
Hon. Metropolitan/Municipal/District Chief Executives
Heads of Educational Institutions
Representatives from the Western/Western North Regional Co-ordinating Councils
Staff of the Scholarships Secretariat
Friends of the Media
Distinguished Invited Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is with humility I stand before this gathering to make this speech to address the sapping confidence often amongst the majority of our youth and their display of apathy towards governmental interventions “as a same as before syndrome,” that depicts their hopelessness and a massive negation of the Ghanaian Spirit; which is a Forward ever momentum and not as in the prevailing circumstances, a blasé and carry on like that attitude. As the Registrar of the Ghana Scholarships Secretariat, I share in the vision of the President, His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on hinging all the basic factors of development on education.
The sundry move towards a future we can design and adopt for our total well-being starts with developing the requisite skill and belief endowed by knowledge to suggest what is possible and the course to chatter as a country.
Again, permit me to acknowledge the efforts of my hardworking staff who have had to sacrifice much for the realisation of this assignment. A debt of gratitude also goes to the Western Regional Coordinating Council for taking keen interest in hosting this programme. “The best as we say, will always come from the West”.
Distinguished guests, the voice of our President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo resonate in my mind when he declared the possibility of Ghana implementing Free Tertiary Education under our current political dispensation. Today, we are here to affirm this and to assure you that, Ghanaians have voted for a President who “walks the talk”. Free Meritorious Tertiary Education is a Possibility.
Our generation of politicians must not lower our sights and as the President has already displayed in implementing the free SHS, we must take on bold challenges with a belief in the Ghanaian Spirit. Too many years have whisked as by doing the business of the day as usual and carrying on with the systems and structures with a sense of caution and not daring to dream out of the decadence of the past. For us at the Scholarship Secretariat charged on by the vision of the President, it is our objective to give opportunities to every single Ghanaian student that deserves an award to study.
A new line of scholarship has been introduced by the President dubbed “Free Meritorious Tertiary (Fm Tertiary). The scholarship package is to pay for the Academic Facility User Fee (AFUF) or tuition fee of deserving students in any accredited tertiary institution in Ghana.
By local tertiary we mean all accredited post-secondary school institutions, both private and public, all the way from diplomas to PhDs. An initial amount of 30 million Ghana cedis was not just approved but has been released by the Finance Ministry for all this important national assignment. On this celestial rendition, permit me to pay a glowing tribute to the minister of finance, Honourable Ken Ofori Atta, for lauding this initiative and giving his personal touch to it.
To make this a reality, his Excellency further directed that the process needs to be decentralised to give real meaning to accessibility and transparency.
Accessibility means that every Ghanaian child, irrespective of their social, religious background or political affiliation, must have access to good quality education. The notion of nepotism and bias selection mechanisms usually associated with awarding institutions based on party A or B, tribe A or B is a thing of the past under our decentralised modus operandi.
Now all the District Assemblies across the country have a say in who is selected as a scholarship recipient from their locality. Chiefs, Religious Leaders and Assemblymen all have roles to play to capture that brilliant Ghanaian student somewhere in that village or town where the gaze of past funding schemes neglected.
In terms of transparency, the Scholarship Secretariat has and continues to operate an open door policy. What this decentralisation seeks to do is to now take this open door policy right to the door steps of students in their districts. Nothing is shrouded in secrecy since all the major stakeholders equally take part in who and who is awarded scholarship.
This culminated in the formation of District Scholarship Review Committee with membership as follows:
The MCE/DCE as the Chairperson
A Representative from the Traditional Authority
A Representative from a Tertiary Institution or the Ghana Education Service in the District/Municipal.
Two Representatives to be appointed by the Ghana Scholarships Secretariat.
Their terms of reference is to shortlist and interview applicants who have applied for government scholarships at the various Assemblies and make recommendations to the Central Scholarship Committee in Accra for consideration and Scholarship awards.
Mr Chairman, it is sad, how a student may have to drop out of their tertiary institution for their inability to pay just GH¢1,200.00 as tuition fee.
It is sad, how students would have to move from Suaman District Assembly to Accra to work as a mate in a trotro during vacation just to make enough money for the academic tuition fee.
Again, it is sad to see a student travel from Aowin Municipal Assembly to Bosomtwe District Assembly for the interviews because he missed the interviews at Aowin.
It is sad, how students would have to abandon lectures to their farms just to make enough money for their upkeep in school.
Moreover, another good thing about this decentralisation is the fact that the scholarship beneficiaries will be absorbed by the various factories in the districts under the 1D1F policy.
We know by the time most of these beneficiaries are through with their studies, the factories will be in full operation. To this end, the scholarships secretariat will collaborate with the managers of these factories to allow the students have their internship with them with their allowances and stipends borne fully by the Secretariat. This is to give full meaning to the Akufo-Addo led government programmes and policies which are intricately connected.
Mr. Chairman, to show our commitment to this course, Four (4) MMDAs who had their scholarship selection interviews earlier and have submitted their lists are going to be awarded their scholarships today to prove that, indeed, the government walk the talk.
Let me assure you that, this is a District/Municipal level initiative and as such no District/Municipal will be left out. The remaining scholarship awards will be worked on in the coming days and report back to the MMDAs with their scholarship awards.
To you, our scholarship beneficiaries pursue academic excellence to maintain your status on the award since awards are annually renewable.
Greatness it is said, is not earned but must be achieved. So when a Ghanaian Child has worked their socks off and is deemed qualified to earn an award, I am duty bound to grant that opportunity for our collective benefit as a country in the long run. A vital aspect of democracy and for that matter governance is trust between a Government and its people.
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 the academics; this after all is the bigger picture of our President under whom I serve.
God bless our nation Ghana and make our educational structures even stronger. Thank you