Ghanaian students on government scholarship in Cuba have expressed their displeasure over challenges they are made to go through in that country due to a seeming abandonment by the government of Ghana.
They are therefore calling 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.
They called on the scholarship Secretariate in Ghana to pay their allowances through their visa cards rather than the transfer to Ghanaian embassy in Cuba.
On accommodation, the students said, “the accommodation facility is nothing to write home about. We have constantly moved from one student residence to another for the perpetuating problems which we faced living in these residences. Currently, the majority of us are living in a residence where a little room is inhabited by 12 and 8 people, where 40 students have to compulsorily share a common washroom of 5 bathrooms and toilet of which 50% are out of use, either by leakages or non-drainage of the sewage. Such conditions are not favorable for studies or well-being of students.”
“Students are under no circumstance allowed to engage in any form business, any student found doing otherwise is likely to face repatriation. Our main source of finance is the monthly maintenance allowance of USD250.00 and the annual book allowance of USD360.00 paid through the embassy of Ghana to students. The constant delay of the allowances has resulted in demotivating and stressing out the students to the extent that the academic performances of some students has declined, others are emotionally and psychologically broken, some have even resorted to involvement in illegal businesses to finding ways of surviving these perilous periods.”
“All these combined and persistent factors have resulted in some students contracting certain chronic diseases like hypertension. On several occasions, the monthly maintenance allowance take as long as 8 or 9 months to get to these students, with so many stories surrounding these delays. From the beginning of the year until August this year, the government of Ghana has paid just 2 months (USD500.00) of the maintenance allowance out of the lot. Students are about starting a new academic year and with the economic state of this nation, these monies would exhaust in no time.”
“The simple conclusion students make is, Ghana government does not care about what happens to any of us, because for a nation to send its people (students) to another country and not care about their well-being is very heartless on its part. It so much seems like they do not care about how we survive, that is why they are okay paying students 2 months out of the 8 months they have lived in this year. They should at least be curious of how students survive, if they care,” they added.
Most have had to endure months of non-payment of their monthly allowances while others have been forced out of their residence due to non-payment of rents.
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.