Press Releases of Thursday, 3 May 2012
*PRESS STATEMENT *
*DELAY IN PAYMENT OF THESIS AND BURARY GRANT (2011/2012) TO POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS IN GHANA*
The government of Ghana has over the years invested in post-graduate education through the disbursement of the annual bursary and thesis grants meant to lessen the financial burden on students.
The annual bursary and thesis grants are part of the five (5) types of scholarships for local Public Universities and Polytechnics under the LOCALTERTIARY SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS of the Scholarships Secretariat * *established in *January, 1960* as an extra-ministerial body under the Office of the President. Its main object was to administer and exercise central control over scholarship awards, for manpower development so as to ensure effective manpower support for the various national development programmes. The others are long course allowance for medical students, disability allowance for physically challenged and hardship allowance for needy students
The thesis grants are payment of graduated allowances to PhD., M. Phil and Masters/Postgraduate Diploma students working on their thesis for one academic year while the bursary grant are paid uniformly across board annually to mitigate the course cost of postgraduate students ( http://www.presidency.gov.gh/our-government/agencies-commissions/scholarship-secretariat). These grants go a long way to aid the early completion of postgraduate work of students.
The creation of these grants and allowances attest to the fact that government over the years understands the relevance of postgraduate education and research to our national economy. No nation has developed without investing heavily in education and research and Ghana cannot be any different.
For those who may be tempted to be cynical, postgraduate education, the apex of professional development in higher education is the stage where the analytical and imaginative capacities of the human mind are developed to the level required for making significant contribution to overall research output (Gyekye, 2003) and development. In spite of its importance, postgraduate education is at its lowest ebb in Ghana.
The *timely payment* of the thesis and bursary grant to support postgraduate education has been called into question on many occasions. The disbursement of the grant at the time when students *have completed their studies or close to completion defeats* the main goal of this grant. Unfortunately, we are in such crisis this year.
The National Office of the Graduate Students’ Association of Ghana (GRASAG), has used all diplomatic means and dialogued with key stakeholders in ensuring that the money is released on time but all to no avail. Despite the numerous assurances of payments to be done in no time, the common phrase that is always heard is *“approval has been given for payment at the Office of the President and the documents have been forwarded to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning” *We have heard this for 2 months now and there is still no sign of payment. What is worrying is that the academic year of universities is ending by 25th May, 2012 and students are highly expectant of this money.
We wish to register our displeasure and at governments delay in releasing the money this year. As an Association, we have shown a lot of restraint and commitment to the smooth resolution of this crisis but unfortunately, it appears we are being taken for granted simply because we have been calm. This statement is the 3rd in series on this subject since 12th April, 2012 and government is still not forthcoming on the matter. As a result, an emergency senate meeting of the leaders of GRASAG Nationwide has decided to embark on a very peaceful demonstration on Monday, 7th May, 2012 dubbed *“YABR? DEMONSTRATION” *and appeal to the powers that be to be proactive in resolving the crisis at hand. We are by this calling on all other well meaning Ghanaians and organizations to support us in this genuine course. As am association we do not fancy waling under the scorching sun but it appears we have gotten to the cross-road and that is the language our politicians want to hear.
We again call on the current government and future ones to show more commitment to post-graduate education and research to enhance our national economic growth agenda.
Dr. Samuel Bert Boadi-Kusi
(National President – GRASAG)