Bolgatanga Assembly should follow the right procedure of sponsoring needy students

The Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly (BMA) has been asked to diligently follow the laid down procedure of disbursing grants to students as it would be unfair to consider those whose parents can afford school fees.

The Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), a Civil Society Organization, made the call when they paid a courtesy call on the Bolgatanga Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Epsona Ayamga on Friday.

According to NORPRA, there have been instances where the Assembly, instead of sponsoring brilliant but needy students were rather sponsoring students whose parents could pay their wards’ school fees.

Mr Bismark Ayorogo Adongo, President of NORPRA, indicated that fees of workers on study leave were paid by the Bolgatanga Municipal which according to him ran contrary to the rules governing the disbursement of the District Assembly’s Common Fund’s support to students.

“NORPRA’s first observation is that the Assembly does not have, or where it has, does not strictly apply a clearly spelt out selection criteria in the identification of beneficiaries of its poverty alleviation fund and education support resources”, the President emphasized.

Mr Adongo indicated that no detailed background checks on the beneficiaries are done to determine those who really deserved the Assembly’s support.

“It is on record that the Assembly in an attempt to be fair to everyone seeking support from it has been using the “Equal Share Formula” in supporting beneficiaries pay fees without any detailed background checks on these beneficiaries to determine who indeed deserved the Assembly’s support”.

Mr Adongo, on behalf of NORPRA therefore called on the Assembly to put in place a system that clearly sets out the selection criteria for beneficiaries of the Assembly’s resources, giving priority to economically disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalized groups such as orphans, children of poor single parents, poverty stricken disabled persons among others.

He also called on the Assembly to support the youth who were qualified by the selection procedure and had entrepreneurial skills to set up their own businesses.

NORPRA which is also working in the area of Urban Youth In Governance and Development (UYOGOD) also called on the Assembly to appeal to the management of Micro Credit and Small Loan Centre (MASLOC) to review the interest rates and the duration of repaying the loan, saying the 12 per cent increase rates and the six months duration was not investor-friendly.

Mr Ayamga thanked NORPRA for the concerns raised and said the Assembly was already working to correct the anomalies associated with student grants.

He said the Assembly had set up a Social Welfare Committee which was checking the background of students who were really in need and stressed that Assembly support to students was abused some time ago and this was being reviewed.

The Municipal Chief Executive was however not happy about the abysmal performance of students of this year Basic School Certificate Examination (BECE) and said the Municipality recorded 35 per cent success as against 60 per cent in 2009.

He attributed the poor performance partly to students not being allowed to write the “Gurune Language”

He appealed to the Ghana Education Service to make the “Gurune Language” one of the examinable course to help enrich the cultural heritage of the people in the Region.

Mr Seth Azusiyine, an executive member of NORPRA, also blamed the poor performance of the students on the “setting” of mock questions in Accra instead of allowing the teachers in the Region to set their own questions and to monitor the students’ performances in order to make necessary amendments before the final BECE.

Source: GNA

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