The Volta River Authority has, under its Community Development Programme (CDP), awarded scholarships to 50 brilliant but needy students within its operational area to access higher education at a total value of GH¢745,000.00
The CDP provides the framework that guides support for development of communities affected by the operations of the Authority for brilliant but needy students, while empowering these communities to take action for development.
The scheme seeks to support the development of the human resources to contribute to the sustainability and the growth of the communities and provide opportunities for the youth to maximise their full potential and contribute to nation development.
In his keynote address, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Deputy Minister of Education, said VRA's initiative aligns with government’s policy of making education accessible through free Senior High School (SHS) to the citizenry.
He said, “government’s introduction of the free SHS policy had made other organisations terminate their scholarship schemes, but lauded the efforts of VRA for sustaining its scheme to benefit brilliant and less privileged in society.”
The Deputy Minister said education would help transform the country's socio-economic development, hence, the need for government to make education the centerpiece of its transformation agenda.
He said countries like Singapore, South Korea and others have developed because of a strong educational system, where majority of their youth had completed tertiary level.
Dr. Adutwum said the introduction of the double track system was to cater for all disadvantaged students to have access to education and address congestion in the shortest possible time, calling on all to support the policy to succeed.
He commended VRA for the initiative and urged other corporate organizations to follow suit and provide holistic education for all especially the less-privileged in society.
Mr. Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, Chief Executive of the VRA, in his speech, said the Authority presented its first scholarship award to 50 students in 2011 as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. He said the Authority institutionalized the scheme after a broad consultation with stakeholders, which led to the development of the CDP framework document.
As part of the scheme’s success story, Mr. Antwi-Darkwa announced that, Miss Nancy Adjwoa Pokua, a third year Bachelor of Science Nursing at the University of Cape Coast, a beneficiary from the Osudoku Traditional area, was the first Nursing student to be selected by the University for an exchange programme at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Whilst Mr. Ebenezer Agyei, of the University of Health and Allied Sciences from the Akwamu Traditional Area was the only participant selected from Africa to participate in the Global Youth in Partnership programme in Germany.
He assured the public of the Authority's commitment to sustain the scheme and include candidates who have qualified to enter Technical, Vocational and Educational Training in the impacted communities. The Chief Executive urged the beneficiaries to study assiduously and justify the investment made in them, as the Authority expected nothing but good performance and a high level of commitment from them.
It is instructive to note that since the inception of the scholarship scheme in 2011, VRA has awarded 329 scholarships to students within its operational area to access higher education. Out of the number, 95 students have benefited from the programme at the tertiary level, while 30 students have successfully graduated, and 234 beneficiaries had graduated at the Senior High School level.