Parliament has commended the Scholarships Secretariat for taking steps to decentralise its operations to make it more accessible to all Ghanaians.
The commendation was made by the Member of Parliament for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, Mr Frank Annor Dompreh, in a statement on the floor of the House last week, which was a follow-up to an earlier one in which he urged the secretariat to decentralise its operations, in order to better serve the purpose for which it was established.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh is an advocate for quality education.
He is of the firm belief that the steps taken by the secretariat to decentralise its operations will bring scholarships to the doorsteps of all deserving Ghanaians.
The MP said efforts must be made to resource the secretariat to enable it to execute its mandate efficiently.
The Scholarships Secretariat was established in 1960 to administer and exercise central control over the award of scholarships, in order to ensure effective manpower support for the various national development programmes.
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The MP noted that the secretariat now had a mandate to utilise both government funds and donor support, for the provision of scholarships to brilliant needy students, as well as workers who qualify for such support.
In his view, the centralisation of the secretariat in Accra had virtually restricted access to the facility to those living in, or close to Accra. He said that had been a great source of worry to many Ghanaians.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh said he was glad that after a series of engagements with Parliament’s committee on education, an agreement was reached for the decentralisation plan to be rolled out.
“Mr Speaker, this is a typical case of your referral being followed to its logical conclusion,” Mr Annoh-Dompreh told the House.
The Nsawam-Adoagyiri MP expressed happiness about the attention and positive response President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the new management of the Scholarship Secretariat gave to the plan for the decentralisation of the secretariat.
He urged the secretariat to ensure that scholarships awarded were more tailored towards development programmes such as the One District, One Factory (1D1F) and One Village, One Dam (1V1D) programmes.
“We cannot continue on the old path of pursuing ‘mass scholarships’, and we urgently need to move to a new path of demand-driven [awards], according to the districts’ needs of our country,” the MP stressed.
The Member of Parliament for Ledzokuku, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, in supporting the statement, said scholarship was important in the life of every person eager to learn.
According to him, scholarship beneficiaries who go abroad must be made to return home to assist in the development of the country.
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, MP for Banda, said the benefits of scholarships could not be over-emphasised.
He said particular attention must be paid to the specific development needs of the country.
The Banda MP said Mathematics, Science, and Technology must be the main focus, as far as award of scholarships was concerned.
Speaking to journalists outside Parliament, the Nsawam-Adoagyiri MP commended the Scholarship Secretariat under the leadership of Mr Kingsley Agyemang for the changes it has brought to the organisation.
He said the changes brought to the secretariat would go a long way to fully achieve the mandate for which it was established.
Throwing more light on the District Scholarship Review Committee, the MP said it was necessary for the development of education in Ghana, since it would ensure that every Ghanaian, irrespective of where they find themselves, would access the scholarship other than coming all the way to the head office of the secretariat in Accra to look for scholarships that might not even exist.
About District Scholarship Review Committee
The Scholarship Secretariat is working in collaboration with the Regional Coordinating Councils, Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies to ensure that Ghanaians are able to access scholarships at their various districts.
The objective of this initiative is the systematic decentralisation of scholarship awarding processes with the view to increasing transparency and accessibility to available funding opportunities.
The district assemblies will be responsible under the secretariat’s guidelines for publishing scholarship openings using the district information channels such as community information centres, church announcements, mosque publications, among others.
Shortlisted applicants within the enclaves will then appear before the DSRC after which a recommendation will be made to the Central Scholarship Review Committee secretariat which will then award the scholarship to deserving applicants.
The Composition of the Review Committee will be made up of the District or Municipal Chief Executive, a representative from the traditional authority which is very dominant within the district a representative from the Ghana Education Service or from any tertiary institution in the district, and two other representatives to be appointed by the Scholarship Secretariat.