“Such involvement will also justify and allow corporate Ghana to insist on the adoption of some pragmatic business practices in university management, “he added”.
Mr. Oteng-Gyasi, immediate past Chairman, Governing Council of the University of Ghana (UG), made the call at the launch of Tropical Saint Anthony Foundation (TSAF), established by TCCL to offer scholarships to needy science-based students of the university in Accra on Wednesday.
The foundation, currently being managed by a four member Board of Trustees has Mr. Oteng-Gyasi, as Chairman, Professor Clifford Nii Boi Tagoe, immediate past Vice-Chancellor of UG, Mr. Alfred Teddy Konu, immediate past Registrar of UG and Mr. Prince Kofi Amoabeng, Chief Executive of UT Bank as members. He said “Education at the tertiary level should no longer be a burden on Central Government and the public per se. Students from low income families should not be excluded from tertiary education”.
Mr. Oteng-Gyasi announced that the foundation would depart from the traditional norm where scholarships were awarded to only “needy but brilliant students” and rather consider needy students who had been offered admission to study at the university. “It is our considered view that a needy student is usually so disadvantaged that insisting on brilliance from such a student as a pre-condition for financial assistance may be asking for too much,” he added.
Mr. Oteng-Gyasi said TCCL had deposited GH¢100,000 into the accounts of the foundation as seed money with an independent fund manager for investment to generate more interest to ensure its sustenance.
Initially, 10 students from deprived schools in each region have been awarded full scholarships covering their academic and residential facility user fees for their entire period of study at the university. Mr. Oteng-Gyasi said “as the fund grows, we intend to extend the scholarships to students of other universities in Ghana.”
Professor Alex Kwapong, first Ghanaian Vice-Chancellor of UG, said although substantial progress had been made in providing access to higher education in the country, a great deal was required to be done. He said despite support from the public sector, loan schemes and grants from grants from other sources, there was still more room for improvement and called on private philanthropists to help increase effective access to higher education.
Professor Kwapong said many qualified students who gained admissions annually failed to enroll because of financial constraints. He described the foundation as an important landmark in the history of UG and commended management of TCCL and Board of Trustees of TSAF for their “clarity of vision and thoughtful initiative in bringing the foundation to fruition”.
“We should all appreciate the true significance of this foundation as a pacesetter, worthy of emulation by other corporate and individual benefactors and philanthropists in the country”, he said.
Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor of UG, called on the private sector and philanthropists to come on board to enhance the cause of tertiary education in Ghana as pertaining in other countries. He commended TCCL for the initiative that would go a long way to deal with the problem of needy students in the country.
Ms. Elizabeth Otuteye, a beneficiary student, pursuing Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Linguistics and Swahili, pledged on behalf of her colleagues to work hard to justify objectives of the award. She is a former student of Ada Senior High School.