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Regional News of Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Source: classfmonline.com

Graduate students cry over bursary delay

The delay in the payment of bursary and thesis grants to graduate students in Ghana by the Government has brought untold hardship on the students, the Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) has noted.

In a press statement released after a press conference Tuesday July 26, GRASAG noted that: “Over the past few years, the excessive delay of allowance is causing students to go through unbearable hardship, particularly in the completion of our research work and many students find themselves stranded on the field collecting data.”

They, therefore, appealed to the Government of Ghana and the Scholarship Secretariat to provide the grants to the students to ease the hardship they are saddled with.

Below is the full statement

Ladies and gentlemen, Fellow students, Friends of the media, all protocol dully observed. Good afternoon and welcome to the press conference, normally I am supposed to say I am honoured to address the students of the graduate school and the press, but I feel it is becoming overly worrying that yet another year we are going through this same old process to get the right thing done or what is due us. We are once again here to talk about an issue that is generating concerns and becoming a great worry to every graduate student of the University of Ghana and the Country at Large.

This issue has to do with the excessive delay of the bursary and thesis grant given by the government of Ghana to the Ghanaian postgraduate student studying in this country to facilitate their research work. Over the past few years the excessive delay of allowance is causing students to go through unbearable hardship. Particularly in the completion of our research work and many students find themselves stranded on the field collecting data.

We gather here today to put across the following intent and concerns to the government of Ghana and the Scholarship Secretariat that provides this grants to the students.

1. To prompt His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana and his Government of the undue delay of the bursary and thesis grant.

2. To call on the Government of Ghana, to release the needed funds to pay the bursary and thesis grant.

3. To appeal to the Government of Ghana to establish a permanent solution to solve this undue delay in the disbursement of the bursary and thesis grant.

4. To also call for an increment in the bursary and thesis grant since it is evidentially clear that the current allowance given to the graduate student is woefully inadequate.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BURSARY AND THESIS GRANT

The annual bursary and thesis grants are among five (5) types of scholarships for Public Universities under the Local Tertiary Scholarship awards of the Scholarships Secretariat of the Republic of Ghana. The Secretariat was established in January, 1960 as an extra-ministerial body under the Office of the President with a duty to administer and exercise central control over scholarship awards for capacity building so as to ensure effective manpower support for the national development agenda.

The thesis grants are payments made to PhD, MPhil and MA/Postgraduate Diploma students working on their research for one academic year, while the bursary grants are paid uniformly across board annually to mitigate the course cost of postgraduate education. The continuous payment of these grants and allowances, demonstrates the fact that governments over the years appreciate the significance of postgraduate education and research to our national economy.

The Association therefore wonders “why the payment of the grants, which has been fixed as low as GHc450.00 for Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Arts (MA) students, as well as GHc470.00 and GHc700.00 for Master of Philosophy and PhD students respectively”, has been delayed amazingly to the extent that the academic year has virtually ended.

We want to be slow to believe that this is another way of silently cancelling this research grant towards a deliberate attempt to cripple post-graduate education in Ghana in an effort to stifle educational development

We have waited enough and may not be able to wait any longer. We therefore will humbly request of His Excellency the President, the National Council for Tertiary Education, the Ministry of Education and the National Scholarship secretariat to kindly ensure that our research grants are released with immediate effect to avoid any future distasteful relationship between government and the student fraternity.

At this point and moment we will notify the students that we have officially petitioned the Office of the President through the Chief of Staff, Hon. Julius Debrah to intervene, we also met the leadership of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education who equally has an oversight responsibility on the matter. The Registrar of the National Scholarship Secretariat was not left out. Equally the Minister of Education has been petitioned. The following concerned heads of institutions were copied: The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wagon, and the leadership of GRASAG National.

CONCLUSION

Fellow students, the Press, Ladies and gentlemen, you will agree with the Student leadership that all due processes to ensure timely release of the thesis and bursary grants for 2015/2016 academic year has been followed. The questions on the lips of the students are: what is causing the undue delay in releasing the funds? Don’t we as a country have funds to support our educational system?

We are using this medium to once again appeal to His Excellency John Dramani Mahama to demonstrate his listening prowess to the hardship students are going through with respect to the thesis and bursary grants. We would be grateful that His Excellency the President intervenes in ensuring the release of the delayed funds for the 2015/2016 academic year. THANK YOU

(Sign)

Nana Kwame ASafo-Adjei Ayeh

President, GRASAG Legon.

26/07/2016