The Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) has called on the Attorney-General and the Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute the immediate past administrator of the Ghana Education Trust fund (GETFund) and all other past and present officials involved in the awards of scholarships to “politically connected persons at the detriment of brilliant but poor students”.
According to GRASAG, the manner in which both past and present officials in charge of GETFund have abused their powers, and “shared scholarships meant for brilliant but needy students among the political class, the elite and the affluent in the society must not be allowed to go unpunished.”
Addressing a joint press conference by GRASAG and other student unions, the president of the association, Samuel Sagoe, also called on the Auditor-General to surcharge all politically connected persons and other influential people who have benefitted from GETFund scholarships between 2012 and 1018.
GRASAG described as “unconscionable” the decision by some sitting MPs and other public officials to put themselves up to be considered for scholarships meant for needy students.
“To the extent that these public officials did not go through any robust competitive selection process before receiving their scholarships is enough ground to ask them to refund the said amount, and we call on the Attorney-General and the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate circumstances that resulted in this malicious abuse of office by these public officials,” Mr Sagoe demanded.
He added that, because GETFUND is not abiding by its mandate of giving money to some state agencies such as the Scholarships Secretariat and the Student Loan Trust Fund, to support brilliant but needy students, such agencies are struggling to carry out their mandates.
“At this point, the students of Ghana stand by the recommendations of the Auditor- General for GETFund to abide by Section 2 (2b) of the GETFund Act, and give funds to Scholarships Secretariat for the administration of local scholarships and desist from administering foreign scholarships,” the GRASAG president said.
In any development, the president of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Isaac Jay Hyde, said students of Ghana are worried about the corona virus outbreak. He stated that NUGS has established direct contacts with some students in China and other part of the world, saying the conversations are normally with panic, as some students are crying to come home.
“Government must map up weekly surveillance on the Ghanaian student community in China just as the Chinese government is doing daily by checking for their vitals. The Ghanaian embassy or diplomatic missions should be in a position to go into the affected places to take surveillance responsibilities.
“It is simply not enough to say because they have food, water and protective gears, they’re safe,” said the NUGS president.
He further asked the government to consider extending support system to all students in China, instead of doing so for only those in the Hubei province. He also called for Ghana’s aviation securities to be beefed up with requisite facilities to detect any suspected case.
Meanwhile, the NUGS president has bemoaned the cyclical delay and vicious rationing of social intervention policies or allocations by successive governments, citing the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) for particular reference.
According to Jay Hyde, such actions only destroy the hope in Ghana’s education sector and reduce everything in the country to elections.
Mr Hyde, however, disclosed that the Ministry of Finance has promised to release a cheque for GH₵10m for disbursement to beneficiaries of the SLTF who have not been paid for over two semesters by next week.
“But I wish to impress on government to keep to its word while the Student Loan Fund also does its part for our brothers and sisters’ loans to be paid, starting Monday, as promised,” he stated.