The district-level scholarship interview sessions have begun simultaneously across the country to select qualified tertiary students in both public and private institutions to be awarded scholarships for the 2020/2021 academic year.
In all, about 75,000 students, who applied online for the scholarship and underwent an online aptitude test, are being interviewed at their preferred Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across the country.
A panel of seven members comprising a representative each of the District Chief Executive, a Chief, a tertiary institution, District Directorate of Education, the Member of Parliament of the area, and two persons from the Scholarship Secretariat, is undertaking the week-long exercise at all the MMDAs.
The interview panel would grill the applicants in four thematic areas, which include motivation and comprehension, current affairs, aptitude test, and prior learning, and score them using an online platform to ensure transparency.
The government has allocated an amount of GHc80,000,000.00 to cater for the tuition fees or academic user facility fees of all those to be selected for the scholarship for the 2020/2021 academic years, which covered certificate cases, diplomas, undergraduate, and graduate programmes.
Mr Kingsley Agyemang, Registrar at the Scholarship Secretariat, who briefed journalists at the start of the interview sessions for the applicants in Tamale on Monday, said it was the third phase of the local tertiary scholarship decentralisation initiative introduced by the government to ensure affordability, whilst increasing access to tertiary education.
At the Tamale Metropolis, about 600 applicants would be interviewed during the period of the exercise.
Mr Agyemang said this was a novelty, adding, “It has never been introduced for almost the 60 years of the existence of the Scholarship Secretariat. This is to make sure that more people have access to tertiary education. Now people in Tamale Metropolis do not need to travel to Accra. The scholarship has been brought to their doorsteps.”
He explained that for the 2021/2022 academic year, a new set of students would apply to be selected for the scholarship, adding that any of those applicants to be selected for the 2020/2021 academic year, who would still want the scholarship in subsequent years, would have to go through a renewal process where they would be assessed based on their performance during the previous academic year.
He said the method is used to select the beneficiaries was transparent to ensure that those, who merit the awards, were selected to benefit from it.
Miss Mohammed Samsiya, a level 300 midwifery student of the University for Development Studies, who went through the interview, said the scholarship would help reduce the financial burden that she encounters at school.