National Executive Committee of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) have taken a swipe at the government and management of the Student Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) for the constant delay in the disbursement of loans into accounts of beneficiaries, making it difficult for them to pay for their fees.
Consequently, the officers of the national executive committee of the NUGS hinted of plans to stage a nationwide demonstration against the government, if they continue to delay in the release of their funds.
According to them, their anger stems from the fact that the development has adversely affected beneficiaries, resulting in the prevention of some students of the University of Ghana under the students’ loan scheme from writing this year’s semester examination.
“The legion of students who rely on the hand-to-mouth loans under the Student Loan Scheme are in absolute despondency following the failure of government to disburse monies to the fund.
“And this is happening in a country where leaders parrot their commitment to education and the youth, this kind of situation is the least one would expect. Schools have re-opened for 3 months now but the loans had not yet been disbursed to students,” he said.
This, they described as a blatant disregard and insensitivity to the plight of the poor Ghanaian student, whose only source of hope is the loan.
Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, the General Secretary of NUGS, Mr. Koku Abotsi, called for the abolishment of the students’ loan if government cannot implement the policy.
Flanked by the President of NUGS, Gombilla Saddique Mohammed, the Press Secretary, Walker Obeng Darko, Mr Abotsi said the students on various campuses were highly disappointed in the government and the SLTF for the constant delays in the disbursement of loans into accounts of beneficiaries.
He indicated that the students were dissatisfied with the manner the loan was being handled.
According to him, the students do not understand why monies expected to be used to pay for their fees were being delayed.
He, therefore, advised the government to cancel the loan programme if it cannot abide by the rules and conditions governing the scheme.
He stressed that this will avoid any inconveniences and save students from any embarrassment(s), especially from school authorities.
He pointed out that the reasons given by the Chief Executive Officer of the fund, Madam Kokui Adu, last week when NUGS issued a statement on the matter for the non-disbursement of the loans do not in any way portray the reality on the ground.
He noted that their checks at other sectors of the economy were indicative of the fact that due considerations have not been given to them.
“Often, we tout the veracity of poverty amongst Ghanaians as if poverty is a situation to be desired. Is it then not stupefying that while conceding that parents are poor, government compounds the situation by reneging on its responsibility to make funds available to tertiary students in the form of loans,” he said
He asserted that the fierce harshness of the situation was exacting a heavy toll on students who were supposed to be accorded the necessary support that the state can afford.
“If we were a nation with priorities, should we deny students the merest support they need to study and yet keep pontificating about the need for education to be taken seriously?
“It is no longer news that our economy has been rickety for a substantial time now. Prices are suffering volatility, cost of living is on the ascendancy and standard of living declining by the day,” Mr Abotsi stressed.
In the face of these dire situations, he noted that the money expected to help most students stabilise their living standards on campus regrettably had been held for the past 3 months.
Story: Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU
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