Victor Smith, Ghana’s Envoy to UK
The continuous non-payment of allowances and tuition fees of Ghanaian students on the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND) scholarship who are studying in the United Kingdom, has reduced many students to ‘mere beggars’, a group of PhD students have revealed.
The students, who have constituted themselves into an organisation called the GETFund Sponsored Students UK Forum, wrote to the Ghana High Commissioner in the United Kingdom to compel the Fund to pay up their long-standing arrears on allowances and tuition fees ‘as a matter of urgency’.
‘We the under-listed students pursuing PhDs in various universities across the United Kingdom do as a matter of urgency, make a passionate appeal to you to prevail upon the GETFund to pay our living allowances as soon as possible,’ they wrote in a petition dated June 9, 2014 and addressed to the High Commissioner.
Apparently, the High Commission had been compelled to settle some of the outstanding fees estimated to span several months.
‘Sir, we do recognise that the country is going through some economic challenges and take this opportunity to thank your outfit for settling the fees of some members of the forum. However, our situation here has compelled us to cry out to you to do all you can within your powers to save us the embarrassment and hardships we are facing in the United Kingdom.
‘Apart from the fact that we have been reduced to mere beggars, landlords and university authourities have been on our necks in the past few months, with debt collectors issuing a series of letters threatening legal action to recover their overdue rent,’ the aggrieved students wailed.
‘Sir, the stress caused to us by this unfortunate situation is affecting our progress. Many of us have been so stressed and our progress has slowed. We have become desperate and reduced to liabilities on friends and well-wishers who are getting fatigued of assisting us. Many have also silently groaned because they have no alternatives and their emails to GETFund go unanswered.’
Mid January this year, one Ambrose Amenshiah, a student in the University of Bradford, wrote desperately to the Ghana High Commissioner, asking him to save him (Amenshiah) from dismissal as his school was fed up with his continuous excuses regarding no-payment of his tuition fees for the 2012/2013 academic year.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that Mr. Amenshiah was eventually dismissed.
Incidentally, the same scenario is playing out in other countries where Ghanaian students are on government scholarships, notably Cuba and Turkey.
The District Assembly Common Fund (DACF), Road Fund, NHIS Levy and some statutory payments to certain government agencies and parastatals have reportedly suffered the same fate of non-payment under the current administration.
By Raphael Ofori-Adeniran
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