GASH appeals to govt to pay arrears of stipends

 The Ghana Associa­tion of Scholarship Students in Hungary (GASH) is appealing to government to as a matter of urgency, pay their stipends that have been in arrears for the last nine months.

According to the Association, the outstanding amount was making life unbearable for the about 225 students currently pursing various degree programmes in the European country.

“Per the contract we have with the Government of Ghana, through the scholarship secretariat, bachelor students are to be provided with a monthly stipend of $250, and Master’s and PhD students, $400 per month, but since July last year till date no student has received their stipends including first years who came in last September,” the presi­dent of GASH, Mr Evans Agyeman Duah, lamented in an interview with the Ghanaian Times on Tuesday.

He enumerated difficulties facing the Ghanaian students as a result of the delayed payment including ejection from rented apartment, loss of class hours, amidst high cost of living in Hungary.

“Most students are now losing focus of the real reason for under­taking the scholarship to study for bread and butter issues to survive. These delays have become a vicious cycle where we have to make lot of noise, before the stipends are released,” he said.

Mr Duah said several letters to the Embassy of Prague, Ministry of Education and Scholarship Secretar­iat hasn’t yielded much fruit, adding, “it is today that we have received a response from the Embassy that our letter has now been referred.”

“We are petitioning the President to step into the situation for the Scholarship Secretariat to as soon as possible, arrange for the release of our stipends or if there are any explanations for the undue delay, we be engaged on it so we have some relieve of mind,” he pleaded.

Reacting to the development in a telephone interview, Registrar of the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat, Mr Kingsley Agyemang, confirmed the delay but assured that arrears for the last six months have been released and should reach students in two weeks’ time.

“The Ministry of Finance released the monies about a month ago but it has to go through some processes to reach the Embassy and that may be causing the delay. We pay them quar­terly so we are paying six months to clear last year and then hopefully by the end of March, we will pay the first quarter of this year,” he assured.

Mr Agyemang said students on similar scholarship in countries like the United Kingdom, USA, among others have received their payment “and we have a few more countries to clear which Hungary is part. At least by next week or two, they should get theirs.”


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