Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has launched the Scholarship Secretariatâ€™s Online Scholarship Application and Administration System in Accra.
Speaking at the launch on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, Vice President Bawumia said the digitization of scholarship processes has come at the appropriate time, when the world is faced with the COVID-19 pandemic which has temporarily shut down almost all social institutions, especially the education sector.
The launch of the Online portal is in line with President Akufo-Addoâ€™s vision to digitize and formalize government service delivery processes, help to eliminate the inconveniences that applicants experience seeking government sponsorships and also help the Secretariat in proper and efficient administration of scholarships in the country.
â€œThe enhanced use of technology, which is reflected in this administrationâ€™s Digitization Agenda, is a very relevant tool in the fight against the COVID 19 pandemic, as digitization by its nature leads to social distancing. Today, we can access many services while sitting in the comfort of our homes, without the human interface which could lead to the spread of the virus.
â€œWe are delivering and will continue to deliver more services online, such as the ECG app, paperless ports, DVLA, Passport Office and the rest. Indeed, God willing, we will launch the Ghana.gov portal next month, a one-stop-shop for accessing government services. Scholarshipgh.com will be included in due time,â€ the Vice President disclosed.
The Vice President said from April 1, 2020, in just four (4) easy steps, any applicant can apply from the comfort of their homes, take an aptitude test and be interviewed in their own districts without coming to Accra as in the past.
He recalled that the Scholarships Secretariat, since its establishment in 1960 as an extra-ministerial body under the Office of the President, has operated below capacity in its traditional bricks and mortar setting.
He said during these times, government sponsorship opportunities were perceived as the preserve of politicians and those well connected in government.
"Shortly after assumption of office in 2017, President Akufo-Addo instructed the Scholarships Secretariat to decentralize its operations to increase access and eliminate the inconvenient experiences of Ghanaians in accessing sponsorship opportunities, specifically those from the hinterlands.
"In line with the strategic directive of the government, the Secretariat initiated processes aimed at increasing access and ensuring transparency in its scholarship awards and administration processes. This culminated into the piloting of the award processes at the Regional levels in the 2018/2019 academic year and narrowed the process down to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Levels in the 2019/2020 academic year".
The Vice President said the period witnessed significant achievements in the increase of scholarships awarded to Ghanaian students pursuing higher education in local tertiary institutions, both public and private, with more than thirty thousand (30,000) Ghanaian students in locally accredited tertiary institutions benefitting from the scheme in the 2019/2020 academic year.
For the 2020/2021 academic year, Scholarships Secretariat and GETFund has made a provision for Eighty Million Ghana Cedis (GHÂ¢80,000,000.00) to students in local tertiary institutions. The number of beneficiaries is expected to increase to about 70,000.
â€œThe launch today of this Online Scholarship Application and Administration System is a proud moment that will revolutionize scholarship administration in Ghana and beyond.
â€œWith this new system government is seeking to ensure transparency in the scholarship awards and by this, the risk of corruption will be reduced as all workflow regarding scholarship application will be streamlined. Again, the new system will provide accurate and reliable data on scholarship beneficiaries as well as tracking their academic progress.â€
The Registrar of the Scholarship Secretariat, Kingsley Agyeman, who took participants through the processes of application, expressed appreciation to government for the support over the years and pledged the commitment of the Secretariat to do even more to make accessing Scholarships easier and more efficient.