SCHOLARSHIP SECRETARIAT FAILS STUDENTS IN RUSSIA ...Medical students facing ejection from hostels as new students start interviews in AccraBy Moscow Observer
5/3/2012 3:57:51 PM -
Letters sighted by the Moscow Observer indicate 15 Ghanaian medical students studying in Moscow have been served a notice of ejection if their hostel fees are not settled by the end of next week. Similar evidence is seen of students in the State University of Management and others within the Russian federation.
IT will be recalled that around this same time period during the 2008 election year, the scholarship students suffered a similar fate when their monthly stipends were delayed for more than 6 months. The students expressed fear of the possibility of a similar fate repeating itself.
According to the students, for the past few years Government has not followed through with its promise as per the agreements and terms of the scholarship, to make payments on logistical expenditures like recognised academic and hostel fees. The students have been making these payments themselves out of their meagre monthly stipends which have not been paid for some time now. Several calls and letters have not yielded any results. A distress call to our offices by a student in Siberia expressed anger and frustration at Government's undue delay in paying the stipends, exposing Ghanaian students to ridicule. Anonymous sources close to the Ghana embassy in Russia said 'it's really getting tough out here we are in bad times' when asked about the reasons for the delayed stipends.
Much earlier the students had complained of the difficult economic situation in Russia and the need for a thorough review of the conditions of their scholarships. However, contrary to their expectations of an upward review, their research/project allowances were stopped, their shipment allowances were slashed by half, and the Scholarship Secretariat washed its hands off the refunds of healthcare costs as well as suspension of payments for hostel fees. All these began just a little over a year ago to the shock of students who now have to make all these payments out of their already insufficient stipends.
The President of the student union Mr. Frank Adusei Poku has called for calm among the students as he liaises with the scholarship secretariat through the Ghana embassy to quicken the release of the stipends. Officials of the Ghana mission intervened to plead with some of the institutions not to throw the students out of the hostels but this time the institutions appear to say they are fed up with unfulfilled promises.
Meanwhile checks by this paper revealed all final year students who completed last academic year kept their vow and went back home after completion of their various courses to put their knowledge to the service of Ghana. All the Government sponsored Medical Students that sat for the Ghana Medical and Dental Council's Exams passed successfully with only a three month refresher course at the Tamale Teaching Hospital instead of the 6-months mandated time period.
The students firmly believe the scholarship secretariat has failed to meet expectations and called on the Administration of the Scholarship Secretariat to sit up. They had a hard time believing that they would be made to go through such harsh conditions when both the Vice President H.E. John Mahama and the Education Minister, Mr. Lee Ocran studied in the Russian Federation and are fully aware of the difficulties students face in Russia where it is against national laws for foreign students to work.
It is therefore their hope that the Government will urgently act to intervene for a quick release of their stipends.