The Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) has threatened to picket at the Flagstaff House over government’s delay in releasing bursary and thesis grant due them for their research work.
The association said its members would picket at the seat of government if the Ministry of Finance did not make grants for the 2015/2016 academic year, amounting to over GH¢4 million, available by September 16, this year.
“Over the past few years, excessive delays of the allowances has caused students to go through intolerable levels of hardship, particularly for the completion of our research work, resulting in many students finding themselves stranded while in the field collecting data,” it stated.
The Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) is the official mouthpiece of postgraduate students in Ghana.
“We have waited enough”
At a press conference in Accra last Saturday, the President of GRASAG, Mr Rashid Kwesi Etuaful, said, “undue delays and its effects” meant that post-graduate education/research was crawling to a halt and leading to a stifling of development in education.
He noted that dialogue with the relevant state agencies, such as the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance, had not yielded any fruitful result.
“We have waited enough. We have exhausted all avenues available and have duly followed laid down procedures, but we cannot wait any longer now,” he said.
Mr Etuaful said the annual bursary and thesis grants were part of five types of scholarship available for public universities under the local tertiary scholarships awards of the national scholarships secretariat.
He explained further that the thesis grants were given to PhD, MPhil and MA/Postgraduate Diploma students working on their research in one academic year, while the bursary grants were paid uniformly across the board annually to mitigate the cost of postgraduate education.
He said under the grants scheme, students pursing Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Arts (MA) received GH¢450 each, while students pursing Master of Philosophy and PhD were given GH¢470 and GH¢700, respectively.
He stated that the payment of the grants and allowances over the years demonstrated government’s appreciation of the significance of postgraduate education and research to the economy.
He wondered why there was delay at this time and added that “we are serving notice of our intention should the minister of finance fail to meet the September 16, 2016 deadline”.
According to the President of GRASAG, all members in institutions with graduate schools would come together on September 21, 2016 and picket at the Flagstaff House to demonstrate their displeasure over the delay.
He said he was hopeful that if they did that the President would give directives for their money to be release to them.
He urged the government to take steps to ensure that there was a permanent solution to the recurring delays in the disbursement of bursary and thesis grants for graduate students.
While at it, the association has called for an increment in the bursary and thesis grants since what was being given at present was inadequate to meet escalating costs.