Lawyer Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang writes on GETFund and scholarships

Folks I have been watching and listening from afar the hullabaloo about the so called discretionary award of scholarships in this country and the milking of the system by the already fattened political class to the disadvantage of the downtrodden.

I have said it before and let me repeat a society that fattens its political class and impoverish the critical sectors is sick.

When it comes to scholarship administration in Ghana the corrupt practices have been with us from the Cocobod Scholarship through the government scholarship in the era of O and A levels.

When it comes to scholarships for foreign post-graduate studies I have goose pimples anytime they come to mind because of my personal experience in 1994.

In 1994 I was the recipient of Mensah Sarbah prize at the Ghana School of Law as the Best Graduating Student.

I was interviewed on National TV and I promised to pursue further studies in Natural Resources and Environmental Law overseas and return to help my country.

I dutifully served as a Teaching Assistant at Law Faculty Legon and applied for schools in , Canada, USA and Netherlands.

I was offered admission in about 8 prestigious institutions but as the son of Eno Ataah there was no way I could afford even the ticket to those countries so I applied to the Scholarship Secretariat for a scholarship.

To the best of my knowledge others also applied and I was fortified in my belief then that on the scale of merit I was more than qualified on a scale of academic excellence and the relevance of the programme to be pursued.

Today looking at the names and backgrounds, politically and regionally, of those offered the scholarships, I can only hazard a guess that maybe my name and background were incorrect.

Luckily I was offered scholarships by the Law Society of Ontario in Canada and Rulon Clark Fellowship to attend the University of Utah in Salt Lake City USA where I studied Masters in Water Law, the first person to undertake that course in Ghana.

Notwithstanding the treatment at the hands of Scholarship Secretariat, I returned home after obtaining two Master of Laws degrees to enter public service first at the Water Resources Commission and now Ghana School of Law.

Coming to the Ghana School of Law I left lucrative private practice where I was then earning in excess of 4 million cedis (400 Ghana cedis) for 258,000 (25.80 Ghana cedis) as a lecturer.

The irony of life is that those sponsored by the state refused or failed to return to serve this beloved country.

Though I have a serious issue as to whether the auditing of GETFUND followed international best practices, I am of the considered view that we can use the disclosure to correct the mistakes of the past and for the country to cater for the true and genuine needy but brilliant compatriots

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