The Volta River Authority under its Community Development Programme (CDP) has awarded 329 scholarships to students within its operational area to access higher education.
Out of the number, 95 students have benefited from the programme at the tertiary level, while 30 students have successfully graduated, and 234 beneficiaries had graduated at the Senior High School level.
The programme provides the framework that guides support for development of communities affected by the operations of the Authority for brilliant but needy students, while empowering these communities to take action for development.
The scheme seeks to support the development of the human resources to contribute to the sustainability and the growth of the communities and provide opportunities for the youth to maximise their full potential and contribute to nation development.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Deputy Minister in charge of General Education, speaking at a ceremony to award scholarships to 50 tertiary students in Akuse in the Eastern Region, said VRA’s initiative aligned with government’s policy of making education accessible through free Senior High School (SHS) to the citizenry.
The scholarship award for the students is valued at GH¢745,000, covering the payment of tuition and accommodation fees.
He said government’s introduction of the free SHS policy had made other organizations to terminate their scholarship schemes, but lauded the efforts of VRA for sustaining its scheme to benefit brilliant and less privileged in society.
The Deputy Minister said education would help transform the country’s socio-economic development, hence, the need for government to make education the centrepiece of its transformation agenda.
He said countries like Singapore, South Korea and others have developed because of a strong educational system, where majority of their youth had completed tertiary level.
Dr Adutwum said the introduction of the double track system was to cater for all disadvantaged students to have access to education and address congestion in the shortest possible time, calling on all to support the policy to succeed.
He commended VRA for the initiative and urged other corporate organizations to follow suit and provide a holistic education for all especially the disadvantage in society.
He advised the beneficiary to focus on their studies and come out of the programme successfully and contribute their quota to their communities and the nation as a whole.
Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, the Chief Executive Officer of VRA, said the Authority presented its first scholarship award to 50 students in 2011 as part of the 50th-anniversary celebrations.
He said the Authority institutionalized the scheme after a broad consultation with stakeholders, which led to the development of the CDP framework document.
Mr Antwi-Dankwa announced that, Miss Nancy Adjwoa Pokua, a third year Bachelor of Science Nursing at the University of Cape Coast, a beneficiary from the Osudoku Traditional area, was the first Nursing student to be selected by the University for an exchange programme at the University of Limerick, Ireland.
Also, Mr Ebenezer Agyei, a beneficiary of the University of Health and Allied Sciences from the Akwamu Traditional area was the only participant selected from Africa to participate in the Global Youth in Partnership programme in Germany.
He assured the public of the Authority’s commitment to sustain the scheme and include candidates who have qualified to enter Technical, Vocational and Educational Training in their impacted communities.
The Chief Executive Officer tasked the beneficiaries to learn hard and justify the investment made in them and expected good performance and high level of commitment from them.
Mr Emmanuel T. Abaitey, on behalf of the beneficiaries, thanked VRA for the opportunity and pledged to stay focus and make them proud by excelling in their academic prowess.
The beneficiaries were presented with certificates.