By NEWS DESK REPORT September 25, 2019 31534 4741 comments

The Registrar of the Ghana Scholarships Secretariat, Kingsley Agyemang, has announced that the government will soon roll out research and conference allowances for students on scholarships who are studying for a postgraduate doctoral degree.

According to him, the decision will be communicated soon to all of Ghana’s missions abroad for immediate implementation.

Mr Agyemang said the decision was taken because the government believes that PhD students incur great costs in relation to research and publication of their work.

This has an impact on their ability to gain exposure and form networks by publishing in academic journals and affects their ability to attend essential conferences.

Entry requirement

The announcement is also in line with a decision made by the National Accreditation Board and the Ministry of Education, which require a doctoral degree as a prerequisite qualification for university teaching.

“In view of this, His Excellency the President has directed that we introduce what he calls Annual Research and Conference Allowances for PhD students,’’ Mr Agyemang said on Wednesday when he met a cross-section of Ghanaian students on Ghana government scholarships in Morocco.

He explained further that the funds will be accessible in January every year. PhD students will apply to the Secretariat to access funding.

No more picketing

Touching on how seriously the Akufo-Addo government is taking education, Mr Agyemang said the President, on assuming power, ensured that all arrears owed students both inside and outside Ghana were settled.

“There were a lot of issues on the student front, especially when it came to scholarships,” he said.

He recalled how the Mahama government abandoned its responsibility to students and went almost a year without paying their stipends, resulting in students picketing the various Ghanaian missions abroad.

“I think Morocco was in arrears for 11 months, Cuba and co, Russia and China and all over. There was great despondency on the part of students who were studying on Government of Ghana scholarships, as if it was a crime to be given a scholarship to come and study in a foreign land,’ Mr Agyemang said.

Now, to the admiration of Ghanaian students studying in Morocco, for the first time in history they will have their stipends paid in advance for four months ending December 2019.

“I am happy to report to you that for the first time in the history of the Ghana-Morocco scholarship brokered by Ghana’s former President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2002, you are going to be paid up till the end of the year,” he said, to thunderous applause from the students.

NPP feats

Mr Agyemang recalled the numerous achievements of the NPP government since the party returned to power in 2017 but said there is more to do, especially in the education sector.

He advised the students to raise the Ghanaian flag high by excelling in their courses and said he was happy that they had not recorded any official complaints of indiscipline or law-breaking.

French lessons

Mr Agyemang was particularly pleased with the manner in which the Ghanaian students in Morocco had excelled in French.

One young student, Esther Sena, was awarded the prize for Best Student in French on the preparatory course for all foreign students studying in Morocco.

According to Mr Agyemang, Ms Sena, coming as she does from an anglophone country, did very well to beat most of her competitors, who were mainly French-speaking.

‘This goes to show when our students are given the level playing field they deserve, they can compete with the brightest academic minds globally in all fields,’ he said.

He said he was amused that Ms Sena was a beneficiary of the decentralisation selection scheme introduced by the present NPP government.

The President’s move to introduce French extra classes had played a highly significant role in achieving this, Mr Agyemang said.

“This kind of intervention from His Excellency the President is what has yielded the results we have all seen. To have a pure anglophone country competing with francophone countries and having an average mark of 14 over 20 is worth commending,’ he said.

From Morocco with love

The president of Ghana Students in Morocco, David Azilagbetor, praised the government for improving the welfare of students.

He said the students will continue to raise the flag of Ghana high, knowing how the Akufo-Addo was investing massively in their education.

“We are happy to see what the father of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is doing for us,” Mr Azilagbetor said. “He has paid our stipends regularly, which was not the case in the past. We thank God for giving us this President,” he said.

“And another initiative is that he is going to organise mathematics classes for engineering and mathematics students. We are happy with all these initiatives. We also thank the Registrar of Scholarships for having us at heart,” he said.

For his part, Ghana’s ambassador to Morocco, Stephen Mahamudu Yakubu, asked the students to give their all in their studies because the NPP government will always support them.

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