About 150,000 pioneer students of the free senior high school (SHS) policy who have qualified for tertiary education will benefit from government scholarships tenable in both public and private institutions.
Consequently, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has, based on the sterling performance of the students, directed the Scholarship Secretariat to immediately open the online portal for the students to apply for scholarships for their tertiary education.
The qualified students represent about 50 per cent of the approximately 342,500 candidates who wrote the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) this year.
The Registrar of the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat, Mr Kingsley Agyeman, who announced this at a media engagement in Accra yesterday, said it was another opportunity for the beneficiaries of the free SHS policy to enjoy tuition free tertiary education.
Mr Agyeman pointed out that this year had been the only year in the past six years that more than 50 per cent of candidates scored between grade A1 and C6 in all core subjects.
He said considering the extreme physical and psychological conditions under which the candidates wrote their examination, the results were a clear manifestation that the government’s interventions aimed at ensuring that Ghanaian youth had access to inclusive and equitable quality SHS education, as well as attain better learning outcomes, were working.
Mr Agyeman said the decentralised tertiary scholarship being run by the Scholarship Secretariat catered for the academic user or tuition fees of deserving students in any accredited tertiary institution in Ghana, both private and public.
He added that the decentralised local scholarship paid the tuition fees of over 30,000 students in the 2019/2020 academic year.
Explaining the reason behind the decentralised local scholarship, he said it was to increase accessibility and ensure transparency and fairness.
He said the scholarship processes for the 2020/2021 academic year commenced in March 2020, with over 300,000 Ghanaians applying from all over the country.
As of yesterday, he said, applicants numbering 11,581 out of the envisaged 45,000 successful applicants from about 50 districts throughout the country had had their tuition fees paid fully to their respective institutions.
The registrar expressed the hope that the tertiary institutions would fast-track the validation processes to enable the secretariat to expedite action on the payment.
Mr Agyeman commended the pioneer SHS students for their sterling performance in the WASSCE, in spite of the stringent conditions under which they had written the examination, saying: “Kudos to the parents and guardians of these children who believed in President Akufo-Addo’s vision and fully participated in the free SHS policy by enrolling their children and wards.”
“The government put in place a number of interventions, including Maths and Science training for teachers, core textbooks for all students, intervention grants for teachers, remedial packages delivered to all students, free uniforms, meals for both day and boarding students, the provision of past questions and chief examiners’ reports for students, support for low performing schools and on-time payment of subventions,” he said
Mr Agyeman said the Scholarship Secretariat had responded positively to a directive by President Akufo-Addo to give scholarships to a graduate of the Adeiso SHS in the Eastern Region, Thomas Amoaning, who scored 8As in the 2020 WASSCE, in spite of his challenges as a needy student.
The President's directive was in reaction to Amoaning’s plea for help to pursue a degree in Economics at the University of Ghana after his results became public.
Already, the secretariat has contacted Amoaning's family and initiated action to after the scholarship.