A Stinking Cuban Medical Agenda
6/1/2012 6:31:38 PM -
We have been constrained to return to the sore subject of unusual scholarships to selected students for undergraduate medical programmes in the Caribbean country of Cuba.
While the whopping amount of money involved in the programme lacks economic sense, given what the said amount can do in expanding the four medical schools in the country, emerging details are triggering further questions about the integrity of the arrangement.
We have been told that the erstwhile largesse from the Cuban government under which Ghanaians were sent to that country gratis has been replaced with a fee-paying scheme alongside other expenses such as visa processing and Spanish language programmes.
A contradiction has however reared its head in the matter following the discovery on the Caribbean country's website of an allusion to the granting of Cuban scholarships to 250 Ghanaian students for medical studies.
The facts do not add up and so clearing the air would help in putting to rest what is being touted in some quarters as another rip-off of the economy. It is all about an opportunity cost which should have been digested adequately by those who decided to take the country along that path.
Have the Cubans deceived us by creating the impression that our students are enjoying scholarships when in reality our Vice President has signed a deal for us to begin paying such whopping amounts of money?
When the critical decision to subscribe to the new Cuban arrangement was being discussed, Ghanaians, out of courtesy, should have been consulted through their representatives in Parliament before making the expensive move which has by and large come under barrage of criticisms since it became public knowledge.
Such criticisms are attributable to the seeming opaqueness of the whole deal, a thing which in modern times is unheard of.
The impression that matters regarding the withdrawal of funds from the state kitty are done with a certain degree of disturbing glee without any consideration for the economic implication by those at the helm is regretful and unfortunate.
Perhaps, it is this reason which is adding impetus to the perception that shady considerations underpin such decisions.
We are reliably informed that by this Cuban arrangement, a state policy of not funding undergraduate medical programmes abroad has been breached.
A former dean of one of the country's medical schools made the disclosure yesterday when he called in to contribute to a programme on Oman FM.
Another abrasive area in the whole deal has to do with the selection of candidates. A deputy minister blew dust into the eyes of his compatriots when he sought to create the impression that the selection was based on competition.
We beg to differ on this score, stating categorically that since there was no newspaper advertisement on it, as should have been the case with such programmes, it can be declared that the selection was partisan and ethnocentric in nature in a country where the government claims to be committed to ensuring a cohesive country.
As for the ruling party's various interest groups, the caucuses, whose children and other relations enjoyed the gravy train, the least written about it the better.