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Decentralisation enhances outcomes and output of Scholarship Secretariat

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The Scholarships Secretariat has since 1960 been administering government of Ghana scholarships to deserving applicants in the country. It does this through a number of initiatives.

As an institution that works directly under the office of the President, the Secretariat took inspiration from the President’s directive for state institutions to modernize to undertake reforms under the guiding hand of the current registrar, Kingsley Agyemang.

But months before Mr. Agyemang took office in February 2017, an MP had begun advocacy on the floor of parliament for the secretariat to decentralize and spread out its tentacles across the country to ensure fair and efficient administration of government scholarships.

On 18th February 2015, MP for Nsawam-Adoagyir, Frank Annoh-Dompreh made a statement on the floor of Parliament with the caption “Making the Scholarship Secretariat More Effective” In the statement, Hon. Annoh-Dompreh stated that quite apart from bursaries that go to the Senior High Schools, all other applications and operations are centralized at the national capital, and yet there are no clearly laid down laws governing the operations of such an important agency of State. The MP argued that the centralized nature of the scheme clearly restricts access to the facility, which is largely intended to provide financial support to brilliant but needy students whose parents or guardians are financially handicapped. He said, “manifestly, many financially handicapped parents reside in remote areas of our country with their brilliant but needy kids… many of whom have never been to the nation’s capital or even heard about the existence of such facility for their kids and are even unfamiliar with the process of procuring the application forms.”

In 2018, the Secretariat decided to pilot the award of scholarships at the regional level. The pilot of the decentralized process was scaled up the following year capturing district, municipal and metropolitan areas. The system has remained so after that year. Just a year after implementation, according to official statistics. More than thirty thousand (30,000) Ghanaian students in the locally accredited tertiary institutions benefitted from the scheme. The success of the reforms implemented continues to date.

Apart from decentralization, the entire process of application has been digitized in a bid to enhance efficiency and reduce the loss of productive hours associated with the manual process of application. The portal schloarshipgh.com is the one-stop-shop for all the digital processes of the secretariat. Like a phoenix that rises from ashes, the Scholarship Secretariat is on the rise, under the leadership of Kingsley Agyemang.

 

Source: Duke Mensah Opoku

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