High Commission commends Ghana for dominating 2019 Australian scholarships

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman

The Australian High Commission has commended Ghana for having its professionals dominating the 2019 Australian Awards Scholarships set up to support talented Africans to pursue post-graduate programmes in Australia.

Such domination, the commission said, was a credit to Ghanaian professionals’ academic and leadership qualities.

“Out of the limited pool of scholarships the Australian Awards programme awards across Africa, I am so proud and so pleased to be able to say that this batch Ghana has managed to grab, this year, a larger proportion of the students that we have ever had before,” the Australians High Commissioner, Mr Andrews Barnes, said.

Of the over 1,000 professionals from across West Africa who applied for the Australian Awards Scholarship in 2018, 23 Africans, comprising 21 Ghanaians, a sierra Leonean and an Ivorian, were awarded scholarships to undertake their Master’s course in Australia from 2019 to 2020.

‘You’re crème de la crème’

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Addressing a reception ceremony at his residence in Accra last Friday, Mr Barnes said “After going through a tough selection programme, you are the crème de la crème of Ghana and you will be going to Australia where you will be ambassadors for Ghana and when you come back you will be ambassadors of Australia in Ghana.

“You have been chosen out of the field of many thousands of applicants not just for your academic record but also the faith the selection panel have shown in you for your leadership quality,” he said.

The reception was held to celebrate the success and imminent departure of the 2019 cohorts of the Australian Master’s Scholarship from Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

The event also attracted the 2018 cohorts of the agribusiness short course recipients and a number of alumni of the Australian Awards Scholarships from Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Highest recipients

Mr Barnes stated though the selection process of the Australian Awards Scholarships was a tough, the Ghanaian professionals topped the list of thousands of applicants from across Africa.

“This group of the Australian Awards Scholars represented the highest number of Master’s scholarship in Ghana,” he said.

He expressed the hope that upon their return back home in two years, the Ghanaian professionals would be ready to take-up leadership positions and support the country’s development aspirations.

The High Commissioner added that the agribusiness short course programme was a well-focused on various challenges facing Ghana which “the present government is committed to overcome.”

He asked the scholars to spread the good news of the scholarship and encourage other people to put themselves forward to apply for the scholarship.
“This way, we will ensure that Ghana and West Africa continue to be well represented in the Australian Awards programme,” Mr Barnes said.

Exceeding gender target

Touching on gender, he said: “For the first, we have reached and exceeded our gender target for the cohorts of scholarship for the Master’s programme; more than half of the 23 scholars are women.”

He was optimistic that the success of the scholarship programme would reinforce the partnership between Australia and governments in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone, “enhancing and influencing the standing of our bilateral agreements.”

“It is gratifying for us to be part of the African development story by supporting talented individuals through education and it is my hope that the experience you are about to gain will inspire you and provide you with skills and ideas with which you will return home and to workplace,” he added.