Government has announced an amount of GH₵ 1.5 million to support post-graduate research in the country.
This is in addition to the annual bursaries and research grants paid to post-graduate students.
The Registrar of the Scholarships Secretariat, Kingsley Agyemang, who disclosed this on Friday August 21 at the 6th edition of the GRASAG National Virtual University, said this is part of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s support for post-graduate studies in the country.
The GRASAG National Virtual University is an initiative of the leadership of the Graduate Students Association of Ghana to aid learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The innovation is to help provide knowledge on special issues which matter to the development of the country.
Speaking on the theme “Increasing Cost of Post-graduate Education in Ghana and its Implications for Ghana’s Socio-Economic Development,” the Scholarships Secretariat boss underscored the importance of research to the socio-economic development of Ghana.
To this end, he stated that the secretariat has signed a number of memoranda of understanding with universities across the world to train post-graduate students from Ghana in disciplines that directly affect the needs of the country.
He encouraged more Ghanaians to show interest in post-graduate studies and focus on more research related courses.
He bemoaned the inadequate resources for research in the country, a situation that is hampering effective research to solve the developmental needs of the country.
He explained that it is inconceivable for PhD candidates in Ghana to come up with a meagre budget of GH₵ 3,000 to GH₵ 10,000 for their research, adding it is the reason why the Akufo-Addo government is committed to resourcing the Secretariat to support more students.
“Such an amount cannot even do any meaningful data collection or sample testing. What kind of conferences do you intend to participate in or even host? How many publications do you want to come up with? Every academic is assessed by the number of publications you have,” he stated.
In his address, the president of GRASAG, Samuel Sagoe, welcomed the news of the additional support to research funding in the country.
“This initiative, if properly implemented, will change the face of post-graduate research in Ghana and position the country to use home-grown research to solve home-grown problems. Research is the bedrock of every developed nation and Ghana is positioning itself to compete favourably with the rest of the world by supporting postgraduate research in the country,” he said.
He expressed appreciation to the Scholarships Secretariat boss and the President for the initiative.
“Of course, there is no miraculous solution to the higher education cost problem. It will take innovative thinking and determination to challenge conventional thinking and educate post-graduate students, yet with strong leadership and foresight, discerning countries will be able to reinvent themselves for a future in which costs are no longer the leading story about higher education,” he added.
He bemoaned the increasing cost of post-graduate education in Ghana and how it is posing a challenge to brilliant students who desire to further their education.
“Lack of funding remains one of the major challenges facing post-graduate students in the country. Graduate students in Ghana are saddled by the burden of having to pay huge sums as school fees to their schools due to the fee-paying nature of most graduate courses in the country.
“Additionally, graduate students are unable to secure funding for their research works, leaving many students abandoning their thesis due to lack of funds to support research,” he said.
He explained that while many issues in higher education are only discussed among members of the education community, the sharp rise in cost is no longer a topic solely for academia.
“Parents and politicians alike are fuming over the apparently astronomical climb of the cost of a post-graduate education. Indeed, everyone seems to agree that something needs to be done to mitigate the rising cost of higher education. The question is: how?” he said.