Struggling Ghanaian students on Ghana Education Trust Fund scholarships abroad have given themselves a much bigger voice by utilising two of the world’s most popular social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook.
The account names, ‘GhanaStudentsAbroad’ on Twitter, and ‘SOS ghanascholarshipsecretariat’ on Facebook have been highlighting struggles of the students and the apparent neglect by the government.
The accounts are being run by students in Algeria, China, Cuba, Morroco and Russia and looking to give a more sustained voice to their advocacy for a better commitment from the government and the Scholarship Secretariat.
Posts on the students’ accounts lament what they describe as a humanitarian situation, as they say, as an example, students in Algeria and Morocco have been evicted from their apartments and rendered homeless due to accumulated rent.
The students say all other avenues, which included statements and petitions to media houses and state institutions, have borne little fruit and they hope to garner some support and exposure via social media mediums
The most recent plea from the students on government scholarships came from Cuba, where they have expressed their discontent because of their seeming abandonment by the government.
They called for a review of the Cuban-Ghana scholarship program to make it more useful and stress-free.
In a statement copied to citifmonline.com, the President of the National Union of Ghana Students in Cuba, Nyarko Quansah said only two out of eight months allowances due them have been paid for this year.
He said the students, most of whom are studying medicine, are unhappy about their condition and believe it is as a result of the many lapses in the administration of the policy for the stay in Cuba.
Most have had to endure months of non-payment of their monthly stipends while others have been forced out of their residences due to non-payment of rent.
The government has on several occasions promised to address the problem but it has become recurrent as successive governments have all struggled to deal with it.
The government has not made any time-based commitments to these students and a deputy Minister of Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng, speaking to Citi News in July at the mid-year budget review, toed a familiar line.
“…those who are being owed now, we will have to find money to pay them. We met a lot of indebtedness. We are mobilising as much money as we can get. We have competing needs but we will pay all the commitments we have to meet.”
Mr. Kwarteng said however only said these settlements would be done “as quickly as we can.”
“…these are things you can do as and when money comes in so we will continue to work as quickly as we have done to ensure that we clear this once and for all so that we do not have the kind of backlog that will put any pressure on a new government as we have had it.”
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana