With five more days left for the 2020 elections, the two big parties, have defined the ‘voters’ market’ and behaving like the generous “Papa Nu” throwing lots of goodies at different segments of the electorates, and the latest to be on their raider are tertiary students.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in its People’s Manifesto, first promised to pay half of tertiary fees for university students and had been running campaign adverts on the package it dubbed “Kyemupe”, but yesterday the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) almost used a last minute jibe to knockout the NDC promise, but this was not to be as the opposition appears to have gotten wind of the move declared “Fa Ninyinaa” policy for tertiary students.
The NDC, had in it 2020 People’s Manifesto launched few months ago, promised to absorb 50 percent of university fees for the 2020/21 academic year, calling the “Kyemupe” citing the global COVID-19 pandemic as reason for the kind gesture.
But in the early hours of yesterday, the National Chairman of the NDC, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo announced that “it has accepted for incorporation in the Peoples’ Manifesto, the recommendation of the Education Policy Group of the party that the next NDC government absorbs the full school fees of Ghanaian students who will be admitted to tertiary institutions in the 2020/2021 academic year”.
The NDC statement, said that “this policy is an enhancement of our commitment in the People’s Manifesto to absorb 50% of the school fees of all tertiary students for the 2020/2021 academic year through the “Kyemupe” policy, which will now apply to only continuing students in tertiary institutions in the country”.
“The Flagbearer of the party, H.E John Dramani Mahama will in due course, throw more light on this enhanced package for Ghanaian students who be admitted to tertiary institutions next year dubbed, “FA NINYINAA”.
The policy was first at the tertiary level since the birth of the 4th Republic.
Hours after the NDC statement, the governing NPP quickly announced that the government through the Scholarship Secretariat, had set aside some GHc20million to cater for those who cannot afford the 2020/21 academic fees.
The government directed the Secretariat to open its online portal from Tuesday, December 1, 2020, to enable graduates of the free Senior High School (SHS) education programme apply for scholarship for their tertiary education.
However, the interesting part of the whole drama was that before the NPP could make this new directive by President Akufo-Addo public in a form of announcement.
Speaking in an interview with Joynews, Kingsley Agyeman, the Registrar of the Scholarships Secretariat advised the free SHS graduates to take advantage of the opportunity offered them.
“The president has once again directed the Scholarships Secretariat to immediately open the online portal for these free SHS graduates,” Agyeman announced.
Agyeman noted that the scholarship is opened to all students who wrote the WASCCE in 2020 and have gained admission or applied for admission to the tertiary institution.
He also added that prospective students would be required to apply and complete an online aptitude test in order to benefit from the sponsored scholarship.
Mr Agyeman, said previous governments have narrowed scholarship to boarding and examination fees only unlike what the holistic one the current government is providing.
He has described the decision by the NDC to update its manifesto by promising to absorb the fees of tertiary students for the 2020/2021 academic year as a knee-jerk reaction.