The Ghana Scholarships Secretariat has met with the Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) to discuss issues of research funding and how best a sustainable means of support can be given to it. The meeting, held last week, forms part of broad stakeholders’ consultation the secretariat has started embarking on in addressing the issue of research funding in the country.
The cost of graduate research keeps increasing by the day. As it stands now, regular postgraduate students in the various public universities in the country get some cushioning from the Scholarship Secretariat in a form of Graduate Thesis and Bursary grant.
The amount paid to the students ranges between GHC350 to GHC1000 depending on the program and level of the student. This has however proven to be woefully inadequate since according to GRASAG the cheapest form of research in this country cost over GHC3000 with some costing several thousands of cedis.
Speaking at the meeting, the Registrar of the Secretariat, Mr Kingsley Agyemang stated that due to the high cost of research, especially by students offering Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses, the secretariat is considering cancelling the Bursary Grant so that the money can be channeled into a single pool where relevant research that solves pressing issues in the country can have better funding from the secretariat.
He said this will ensure that relevant research get adequate funding rather than the current ‘free for all’ system where every research gets ‘something small.’
Mr. Agyemang however stated that the Secretariat is not considering cancelling the bursary now because consultation on it had just begun.
He justified the importance of cancelling the bursaries and focusing more on strengthening and improving on the funding for STEM programs which he said was a global practice now.
But members of GRASAG objected to the cancelation of the bursary. They rather suggested that the Secretariat look for alternative sources of funding to increase the amount paid to the students and to also have extra support means for the STEM and other equally relevant researches.
GRASAG in turn proffered other alternatives sources of funding for the secretariat and urged them to consider them.
The Registrar assured GRASAG that the Secretariat wOULD consider all views expressed. He also urged GRASAG to consider the proposal from the Secretariat and come back for further discussion.
Mr. Agyemang further called for extensive collaboration between GRASAG and the Scholarships secretariat. He advised GRASAG to get a national secretariat which is independent of the tenure of office of the elected leaders of GRASAG. This, he said, would help the association to position itself well to welcome existing opportunities.
The meeting was attended by the national leadership of GRASAG, institutional Presidents of the various universities, some institutional executives of GRASAG as well as management of the Scholarship Secretariat.