Presidency must back off; decentralise Scholarship Secretariat – MP

The Member of Parliament for Nsawam Aduagyire, Annor Dompreh has urged the presidency to wean itself off the Scholarship Secretariat and allow an independently constituted body to run the agency. This, he said, will ensure that political influences are reduced to the barest minimum. It will also enable professionals with expertise in scholarship administration to manage and strengthen the secretariat to deliver on its mission. Making a statement on the floor of Parliament on reforming and decentralizing the operations of the scholarship secretariat, the MP indicated that the operations of the secretariat do not appear to be regulated by any statute. “Everything appears to be at the discretion of the National Coordinator,” Mr. Annor Dompreh stated. He expressed concern about the suffering that rural folks go through to access the Scholarship Secretariat. He noted that access to the facility has been restricted by centralization, when the the secretariat is to provide financial support to brilliant but needy students across the country. According to him, manifestly, many financially handicapped parents reside in remote areas with their brilliant but needy children. “Many of such people have never been to the nation’s capital and as such do not know of the existence of the scholarship facility or even when they do, they are unfamiliar with the process of procuring the application forms,” he noted. Emphasizing on decentralization, the MP also said there are many poor people who do not have the money to even travel to Accra for the forms, this he said is a worrying situation. He added that the location of the secretariat alone defeats the purpose of making it accessible to the very people who are supposed to benefit from it. He recommended that a secretariat is established in all the ten regions and possibly in all districts to increase accessibility as well as broaden the scope of the scheme. The former Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa supported the statement made by Annor Dompreh, asking that the forms are made available on the internet for applicants. He revealed that in the erstwhile administration, he noticed that GETFUND was awarding more scholarships than the Scholarship Secretariat itself.

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