By;brightwebtv/nana asare barimah
The Minister for Education Hon. Mathew Opoku Prempeh has explained in Parliament that the Ghana Education Trust (GET) Fund, among its varied responsibilities, provides opportunities to students who want to further their education both within and outside the country.
The Minister clarified that to meet the selection criteria, applicants for the award of scholarships or sponsorship are grouped in two broad subject areas, namely Science, Technical, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) on one hand and the Humanities on the other.
Hon. Mathew Opoku Prempeh specified that applicants in the STEM group cover seventy per cent of the total sponsorship awarded while those in the Humanities class group cover thirty per cent of the total scholarships awarded annually.
The Minister who is also the Member of Parliament for Manhyia South Constituency in Ashanti Region stressed that applicants who qualify and fall under the STEM class receive one hundred per cent sponsorship which covering tuition fees, living allowance and tickets.
He further stated that those that qualify under the Humanities receive partial sponsorship with the main purpose being cost sharing between the Fund and the applicant considering the scarce resources of the GET Fund.
The Manhyia South lawmaker declared that this criteria is used for both local and foreign scholarships and that notwithstanding the fact that there is no award for foreign PHD and first degree programmes, foreign first degree programmes in medical sciences may be considered.
The Minister also disclosed that there is a Counterpart Funding Scholarship awarded to applicants who are sponsored under the Campus-France-GET Fund Partnership Agreement.
He said the GET Fund also provides scholarship and sponsorship for Capacity Building Scholarship which criteria is determined by the Education Committee of the Fund and approved by the Board.
Hon. Mathew Opoku Prempeh revealed that, for the 2019/20 academic year, the selection criteria for the award of scholarships based solely on five thematic areas namely brilliant but needy students, performance (class of award), relevance of programme to national development, cost implication and gender.
He explained that a form was used to conduct a need assessment to enable Get Fund to identify needy but brilliant applicants and also that applicants who obtained First Class or Second Class Upper Division were given priority for foreign scholarships.
The Education Minister noted that relevance of programmes that are not offered in Ghana but are essential to the growth of the Ghanaian economy were considered for the award and also that priority was given to female applicants who have extremely excelled in their areas of study.
He said the cost implication consisting of tuition fees per academic year and the number of years to be spent on the programmes was another vital determinant and clarified that the lesser the amount and the number of years spent the higher the chances of the applicant receiving the sponsorship.
The Minister however stated emphatically that the GET Fund does not directly award scholarships to PhD candidates and that the award of scholarships for local applicants strictly consists of payment of fees only.