AFRICA/GHANA - Scholarships for disadvantaged students awarded to children of the elite: "This must stop"

Thursday, 11 April 2024 justice   students   bishops  

Accra (Agenzia Fides) - "When you sit on the money for the poor, they will cry and God will hear them", warns John Bonaventure Kwofie, archbishop of Accra, commenting on the misappropriation of funds for scholarships intended for underprivileged students who deserve it.
Speaking at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Sapeiman, on Divine Mercy Sunday, Msgr. Kwofie said: "Some news came up in the social media about scholarships that are offered by the Government of Ghana. I quote, some people pay bribes to get the scholarship. Students’ tuition fees and living expenses, and allowances aren’t paid. If paid, not on time. Some through corrupt means, get the scholarship award and don’t even report to the school".
The archbishop recalled that "the first of the 5 objectives of the government scholarship is to ‘Award scholarships to needy but brilliant students in second cycle institutions based on merit and hardship. However, the well-to-do people and their wards are those who are attracting the scholarship. This must stop".
The corrupt system to which Msgr. Kwofie refers was discovered following a journalistic investigation that revealed that deserving students who could qualify for scholarships for the economically disadvantaged, find themselves passed over in the ranking of assignment by Government officials and their children.
The investigation revolves around the Scholarship Secretariat, a body under the President's Cabinet, created in 1960 to grant national and foreign scholarships to academically gifted but economically needy students.
The Secretariat administers bilateral scholarships, funded by foreign countries, and non-bilateral scholarships, funded by Ghanaian taxpayers.
In recent years, this body has been increasingly criticized for alleged cases of clientelism, in favor of people with political connections and high society. Among those who have received scholarships to study at prestigious institutions abroad without being entitled to them include children of politicians, ambassadors, senior police officials and well-known actors. Additionally, at least 26 people received multiple scholarships that allowed them to pursue different programs in two consecutive years or different programs in a single year. This means that while some needy students struggled to get a scholarship to fund one program, others received funding for two different programs. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 11/4/2024)