Don’t politicize scholarships – Africa Education Watch to government

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Government has been urged to avoid politicizing its recently announced scholarship for freshmen of local universities.

The Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare says politicizing the process would lead to unfairness which ultimately defeats the purpose of the scholarship.

“Moving forward, it is very important to de-politicize the award of scholarships and ensure fairness and transparency in the process. Knowing how things work in that office, the greatest fear is the likely event of the list of members of the NPP-free SHS graduate association which was launched a week ago, and whose coordinator is the Head of the Scholarship Secretariat being used as the approved scholarship list,” he said in a statement on December 2, 2020.

The government earlier this week announced that an estimated amount of GHS20 million has been budgeted as expected expenditure for the government’s tertiary scholarship programme for the first graduates of the Free Senior High School (SHS).

The amount is to cater for 15,000 beneficiaries for the 2020/2021 academic year.

The government said all Free SHS graduates who sat for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in 2020 and have gained admission or have applied for admission or have applied for admission into an accredited local tertiary institution are eligible to apply.

But some persons are concerned that due to the heavy use of education as part of electioneering campaign messages, the scholarship will mainly cater for supporters of the NPP.

Kofi Asare believes that the government must make public the criteria for selection for the scholarship as well as the full list of beneficiaries to ensure transparency in the process.

Read the statement below:

Gov’t Should Depoliticize Scholarships!

The minimum cost of a scholarship for a needy but brilliant tertiary student is GHC 4,000/ year: 2,500 for academic facility user fees & others, 1,500 for accommodation & related expenses.

Under the GNPC  scholarship, students receive up to GHC 7,000 a year.

The scholarship secretariat claims to have budgeted GHC 20 million for local tertiary scholarships (freshmen). That is great!  The said amount, when administered @ 4,000/Year, can take care of 5,000 students out of government’s anticipated 200,000 freshmen.

We believe is better to administer full scholarships to needy students who have no means of enrolling and completing tertiary than administer GHC 1,300/year handouts which takes care of less than 50% academic and residential user fees, putting students at high risk of dropping out.

Moving forward, it is very important to de-politicize the award of scholarships, and ensure fairness and transparency in the process. Knowing how things work in that office, the greatest fear is the likely event of the list of members of the NPP-free SHS graduate association which was launched a week ago, and whose coordinator is the Head of the Scholarship Secretariat being used as the approved scholarship list.

The criteria for selection  & list of beneficiaries should be published for all to see.

In conclusion, we recommend full scholarships for 5,000 needy students and not partial scholarships for 15,000 .

Kofi Asare, Eduwatch

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Source Author: Jonas Nyabor