The Ghana Scholarships Secretariat has met with the leadership of the Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) to discuss issues of research funding and how best a sustainable means of support can be made available to the members of the association.
The meeting, which took place, last week, is part of a broad stakeholders' consultation – the secretariat has started embarking on, in its effort to address problems associated with 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 GH¢350 and GH¢1000 depending on the programme and the level of the student.
Speaking at the meeting, the Registrar of the secretariat, Kingsley Agyeman, stated that due to the high cost of research especially by students offering Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses, the secretariat was considering cancelling the Bursary Grant. In this case, he said funding could be channelled into a single pool; out of which relevant research that solves pressing issues in the country could have better funding from the secretariat.
Mr. Agyeman, however, said the secretariat is not considering cancelling the bursary now because consultation on the proposal has now begun.
He justified the importance of cancelling the bursaries and focusing more on strengthening and improving on the funding for STEM courses, saying this is now the global practice.
However, GRASAG members objected to the cancellation of the bursary. They suggested to the secretariat to 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 proffered other alternatives sources of funding for the secretariat and urged it to consider them.