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We need a working scheme for needy schoolchildren

BY: Daily Graphic

Yesterday, the Daily Graphic published the story of an SHS graduate, Master Peter Banoebuuri, who has his dream of continuing his education at the tertiary level hanging in the balance due to the lack of funds.

What makes the story sad is the fact that he obtained extremely good grades that would be the envy of many, but was hampered because there was no one to support him with the payment of fees to help him realise his long-cherished dream of becoming a medical doctor in the future.

Not even the school that gave him admission — the School of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University for Development Studies (UDS) — could help him pay an initial fee of GH¢1,950.

Master Banoebuuri has, therefore, had to consign himself to helping his mother on the farm, just like many others who have had to discontinue their education to take up menial jobs because they cannot afford to pay the fees. 

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Indeed, the government has, over the years, instituted many laudable schemes to help the disadvantaged in society forge ahead.

We have the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, as well as the Department of Social Welfare, which bears testimony to the government’s commitment to the underprivileged in society.

There are also several scholarship and social intervention schemes, the Students Loan Scheme and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, a social cash transfer programme which provides cash and health insurance for extremely poor households across Ghana.

However, there are no targeted and exclusive schemes for the very needy but bright students requiring assistance to further their education and who would not have to go through any competition to be selected for assistance.

The bureaucracy involved in applying for funds is also so involving and cumbersome that it scares away the very needy who may not have all the documentation required.

Although we know that the district assemblies are overstretched, we believe that metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives have a role to play in identifying and recommending for assistance pupils and children in their jurisdictions who genuinely need help to pursue various studies and vocations.

This they can do by liaising with the heads of the various schools in their areas.

We have had many instances in the country when children with bright future have become street vendors selling anything from chewing gum to ‘pure water’, dog chains and plantain chips just because the systems that are in place have not been fair to them.

The Daily Graphic believes that deliberately putting in place funding systems that are bias towards needy, brilliant schoolchildren will more than turn their lives around and make them better persons who will contribute immensely to their communities.

We are happy that the appeal launched has received overwhelming responses by individuals and corporate bodies to help save Master Banoebuuri from dropping out of school.