Scholarships Secretariat launches scheme for PWDs
The Ghana Scholarships Secretariat in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has launched an enhanced scholarship scheme to allow persons with disabilities (PWDs) in tertiary institutions to meet their fundamental educational demands.
“The scheme dubbed, “The Disabled Grants for Students in Tertiary Education,” has three forms of major boost, including a continuous professional development programme for instructors at the various special needs departments.
It also has a scholarship for academic user facility fee for PWDs and a 200 per cent increment in the disability grant.
The registrar of the Scholarships Secretariat, Mr Kingsley Agyemang, indicated during the launch at the University of Education (UEW), Winneba, last Wednesday that the initiative would assist alleviate the onerous economic situations that confront PWD in their pursuit of higher education.
He added that the initiative would also encourage those with similar circumstances to pursue higher education and lessen the difficulties they experienced as they strived to improve their academic standing.
“The Scholarships Secretariat has, over the years, liaised with relevant institutions to identify the needs of persons living with disabilities in various tertiary institutions.
“We have been able to identify major areas to prioritise and we believe this scheme would go a long way to relieve them from the economic stress and restore confidence of students in tertiary education with special needs,” he explained.
He said students were only to provide proof of their circumstances in order to receive their award, which would be transferred directly into their bank accounts.
Mr Agyemang urged philanthropic and religious organisations to establish a disability endowment fund to assist the government in its efforts to alleviate the severe economic situations persons with disabilities faced.
He said other institutions needed to step in to supplement the government’s efforts because it was a large area that needed everyone’s help.
“As we roll out this project, we would want to make a plea to charitable and religious organisations to establish an endowment fund to support government to ease the burden on persons with disabilities.”
Professor Andy Ofori-Birikorang, who was then the acting Vice-Chancellor of the UEW, lauded the secretariat for its effort and urged it to provide appropriate resources to assist in the transformation of special education departments across the country.
“This is the first time the secretariat has done something for disabled people in public. I will encourage all of us to take advantage of this opportunity to change the way we look for ways to assist people with disabilities.
“I would also like to encourage key stakeholders to give these special needs departments the resources they need to successfully carry out their missions, as most of the departments are working with insufficient and overburdened resources,” Prof. Ofori-Birikorang said.
Ministry of Gender
The Deputy Minister for Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Ms Lariba Zuweira Abudu, for her part, encouraged students with special needs to aspire for greater heights and to better themselves rather than live at the mercy of the society.
“Your situation should not enable you to settle for less,” she said, adding that the ministry was ready to implement policies and reforms in PWDs’ best interests to guarantee that they had the enabling environment to develop.
A representative of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities, Ms Regina Amanobea Duodo, applauded the government’s boost for PWDs in tertiary institutions, saying that the measure would improve their enrolment in institutions of higher learning.