President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has made available an amount of GHC1.5 million to support postgraduate research work, which is the first of its kind in the country’s history.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Registrar of the Ghana Scholarships Secretariat, Mr Kingsley Agyemang, at the launch of the Graduate Research Trust fund held at the Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“The commitment of Government in ensuring prompt payment of the thesis and bursary grants is highly unprecedented. The good news here, and the fact that the GRTF has been established during the current political administration, is the demonstration of the premium placed on research and innovation in the quest for national development,” he said
He mentioned that the launch of the Fund, which has been computerised, will ensure transparency, prompt payment and value for money.
“I am happy to also report that the Graduate Research Trust Fund replicates the conference and research allowances of Government sponsored doctorial students and post-doctoral practitioners instituted by the current administration,” he added.
He said knowing that students go through a lot of challenges in pursuit of academic endeavours, such as conducting research, conference presentations, attending seminars and publications in high impact journals which affect their work, the Scholarships Secretariat was happy to have received a proposal from the executives of GRASAG to help set up the Fund.
He further disclosed that an appreciable amount of GHC425,020 has been raised from deduction of disbursement of Thesis and Bursary Grants managed by the Scholarships Secretariat to support post-graduate research in Ghana.
Touching more on how the whole process of disbursement will be transparent, the Registrar said after having several meetings with the national executives of GRASAG, two persons were nominated from GRASAG to complement the membership of the Education/Scholarship Review Committee of the Scholarships Secretariat.
“I am happy to note that the GRTF Board comprises members from rich academic and professional background and their expertise and experiences would impact positively towards the progress and sustainability of the project. The Scholarships Secretariat therefore looks forward to fruitful collaboration as we move along in the project implementation,” he said.
The Executive Director of the National Schools Inspectorate Authority, Hilda Ampadu, noted that Ghana as a developing country cannot underestimate the critical importance of research in its socio-economic development.
He said decisions on the country’s development “must be those that are grounded in well-researched findings in order to help the country make informed choices that are directly tailored towards the needs of its citizens and its development.”
She bemoaned how, over the years, critical research conducted by Ghanaian students had been left to gather dust on the book shelves of the various universities.
“The few that have not been allowed to gather dust are often funded by foreign organisations and institutions. These foreign institutions then turn to own the findings of the research and use them to develop their own country or bring the recommendations made back to us in a form of consultancy materials at outrageous cost,” she indicated.
To this end, she said the Graduate Research Trust Fund has come at the right time to solicit for all the scattered funding opportunities and put them together in one pool for easy accessibility.
“I am hopeful that, with the renowned Prof (Mrs) Esi Awuah at the helm of the management of this fund, judging from her record as a distinguished academic and how she transformed the then newly built University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), this fund, within a twinkle of an eye, will grow to become the go-to support fund for student research in the country,” she said.