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Opinions of Saturday, 8 July 2017

Columnist: King David Dzirasah

Reviewing and Restructuring the Students Welfare Assistance Fund

October 2016 the Student Representative Council of the University of
Cape Coast launched the Students Welfare Assistance Fund.

The purpose of the fund is primarily to provide financial assistance to students facing financial challenges.

Establishment of this fund is not only an achievement on the part of SRC but also a legacy that is worth emulating by other educational institutions in the country. However going forward there are emerging concerns that need to be looked at.

There is the question of whether there are any structures put in place
to ensure that successes and challenges ascribed to the fund have been
comprehensively captured for the purposes of ensuring that
stakeholders are able to periodically review this noble initiative
undertaken by SRC.

Review plays a significant role in the success of a project. The
committee responsible for the SWAF must launch a complete
retrospective analysis and audit of the SWAP and put together a
comprehensive report detailing information concerning the achievement
and limitations of the fund since its inception.

This report must be made available to all stakeholders at the first anniversary of the fund. It is also imperative that the committee must be cognizance of a key concern being raised by a section of the stakeholders.

This concern has to do with the publication of names of beneficiaries on
notice boards. This action serves as a disincentive to genuine and
needy students who want to apply for support.

Appropriate channels of communication must be established to inform potential beneficiaries of their status concerning the fund without compromising their identities.

It is also important for the committee to work towards getting
support from corporate bodies for the fund. Corporate bodies have
social responsibilities toward the society.

The committee must take advantage of this opportunity and bring on board companies who would be willing to support this great initiative undertaken by UCC’s SRC. Not only must corporate bodies be brought on board but the committee must also work on getting government’s support for the fund.

It is the responsibility of the government of the country to support the
development of human capital in the country. Hence government support
for the fund would not be misplaced.

The fund in its current does not embody a long term vision. In its
current form, the fund serves a short term tool aim at meeting the
financial needs of students.

However going forward, the committee responsible for the fund must work on expanding the source of finance for the fund and transforming it into a scholarship scheme.

Currently the availability of scholarship for students in the country as far as tertiary education is concerned is not there.

The ability to modify this fund into a scholarship scheme would be an unparalleled achievement on the part of UCC SRC.

Going forward all stakeholders must come on board to make the fund a
success. And needy students must take advantage of the fund in order
to alleviate their financial constraint