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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Columnist: Dela Coffie

How Kingsley Agyemang is changing the face of the scholarship secretariat

I love the fact that the scholarship secretariat is in the news lately for all the good reasons. This is one institution that has seen its fair share of bad leadership in the past, and thanks to the good works of the current Registrar - Mr. Kingsley Agyemang, the secretariat has become a shining and striking testament to the resilience of a can-do spirit.

Indeed, I have observed Mr Kingsley Agyemang, from afar since his appointment as the Registrar of the Schorlship Secretariat in February 2017, and I must commend him for the seriousness and resurgence he has brought to the otherwise comatose institution that was bequeathed him.

The Scholarships Secretariat was established in 1960, as an extra ministerial body under the office of the president to utilize Government funds. GETFUND and Donor Support, for the provision of Scholarships to brilliant but needy students and qualified Ghanaian workers at a minimum access cost for Human Resource Development for the purpose of National Growth and Development.

Sadly successive leadership of the secretariat supervised graft and favouritism of the scheme, a situation that almost defeated the purpose of the establishment of the secretariat.

From concerns of apparent neglect of Ghanaian students abroad to failure to honour its obligations to the beneficiary students, Mr Kingsley Agyemang has changed the face of the Scholarships Secretariat to a enviable institution.

The Scholarships Secretariat, headed by Mr. Agyemang, has introduced new operational reforms aimed at deepening public trust, ensuring transparency and restoring public confidence in scholarship awards.

These include the decentralisation of the scholarship awarding processes which has ensured accessibility as the brilliant-but-needy Ghanaian students are able to access the scheme without going through stress and other challenges.

The current leadership has seen massive disbursement of about GH¢40 million in scholarships to some 29,000 Ghanaian students in public and private tertiary institutions this year. All the students are undertaking various courses of study in the country.

Unlike the past, the secretariat under Kingsley Agyemang has rolled out the scheme to cover nursing training colleges, colleges of education, technical and vocational universities, polytechnics, university colleges, accredited post-secondary schools and other diploma awarding institutions.

The administration of the secretariat under the leadership of Kingsley Agyemang has been relentless in its efforts at sanitizing the scholarship distribution system and instituting pragmatic measures to ensure challenges that hitherto affected and caused many problems with its distribution are reduced to the barest minimum.

The phenomenon where students, especially those abroad, had to abandon their studies due to financial constraints has been dealt with as various policy guidelines have been developed to absorb private Ghanaian students abroad by offering some government support to aid the successful completion of their study programmes when the need arises.

I am particularly enthused with how the Scholarship Secretariat is working closely with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) through the District Scholarship Review Committe to ensure that the scheme benefit all deserving students.

For 2020/2021 academic year, the Scholarships Secretariat and GETFund had made a provision of GH¢80 million to cater for students in local tertiary institutions. What this means is that, the number of beneficiaries will increase to about 70,000 students by the end of the academic year.

There is also a planned introduction of decentralisation and digitisation of scholarships and research allowances for PhD students.

So, yes, Mr Kingsley Agyemang is a good and efficient manager. Regardless of whether you like him or not, he’s getting the job done, and he’s being as successful as anybody can be expected to be, given what he has to work with.

I have always insisted that it should be the best person for the job, irrespective of gender or anything else, and it appears Kingsley Agyemang fit the bill at the scholarship secretariat.