A group identifying themselves as “Students with Special Needs” at the University of Ghana (UG) is demanding the immediate dismissal of the Registrar at the Scholarship Secretariat, asserting that the Registrar’s performance has been lacking and renders them unfit for the position.
The group highlights that during their time as students, the bursary disbursement at the University of Ghana was consistently prompt, with no instances of prolonged delays or unexplained lapses exceeding three consecutive years.
Expressing their concerns directly to the government, the students underline that over the span of more than three years, approximately 200 students with special needs enrolled at the University of Ghana have not been granted their rightful bursary payments.
This prolonged deprivation is attributed to what they characterize as a disregardful attitude from the registrar towards the critical concerns of students with special needs across the nation.
In an official press release dated August 28, 2023, the group further elucidates the bursary’s significance and complexity, taking the opportunity to provide context and context-specific insights on the matter.
Read full statement from the students
August 28 2023.
Request for the removal of the Registrar of the Scholarship Secretariat with immediate effect.
We the concerned students with special needs at the University of Ghana wish to impel the government of Ghana to eject or expel the registrar of the scholarship secretariat from office as a registrar with immediate effect as a matter of urgency owing to his glaring display of colossal incompetence and dereliction of duty on his part as a registrar.
It has become more than imperative for us to scrounge at the doors of the president of the republic to take this decision in his own interest or else face the most mammoth demonstration in the history of the country against his government by special needs students across the country.
As a person who did my first degree here at the University of Ghana, I never heard any time where the bursary delayed for more than three consecutive years with no reasonable explanation.
We wish to apprise the government that for more than three years running, all students with special needs at the University of Ghana totaling about 200 have not received their bursary due to fundamental flippancy on the part of the registrar towards the issues of special needs students in the country.
In case you do not know much about the bursary, then let me crave your indulgence to brief you on it.
The bursary is some small allowance given to persons living with disability who are in the tertiary institutions every year by the government to ameliorate the bad financial conditions of such people as a form of social assistance policy to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living, however, we have not received our portion for three years so all our current students from the first year to the final year have never received a dime since they stepped foot on campus.
Closely linked to the above challenge, is the issue of school fees being paid by the government through the scholarship secretariat for special needs students.
Exactly one year ago, the scholarship secretariat held a program at the University of Education which as special needs students we attended in our numbers upon their invitation.
During the program, it was enunciated by the secretariat that they were going to provide free tertiary Education for special needs students by paying our tuition in full.
After this announcement, we have been waiting on the Scholarship Secretariat for this laudable policy to manifest in our lives by getting our tuition paid by the government as promised, but counterintuitively, the government seems to be reneging on its own promise which was not coercively made or made under any intense pressure.
We do not understand why we should be chasing the government to do what it has pledged to do.
Unless this promise was made by government without carefully or shrewdly cogitating on it to see how feasible or utopian it can be achieved, we cannot fathom why government has turned a deaf year on all our attempts to get the money paid.
As we all agree that the economy is ailing and is not in the best condition, it becomes very disgusting, preposterous and repugnant if the government wants to help some of us who are very impecunious and destitute and someone becomes an impediment.
As a post first degree law student, I am paying a whopping amount of GH 14,000 Cedi per academic year as well as a number of my colleagues in similar situations so we crazily need the money.
I can profess without any modicum of equivocation that, a plethora of us on the brink of either deferring our courses or stopping the school for good due to the fact that we relied on this promise without looking for any other viable alternative avenue to pay our fees.
We have been visiting the Secretariat regularly in our quest to get this anomaly rectified but all our efforts have proven futile.
We wish to categorically alert the government that we are giving the government a two week ultimatum to defray the cost of our tuition as it promised to pay and also pay all the arrears in respect to the disability grant known as the bursary that it owes the students since 2019 till date else we will hit the streets in our numbers to embark on a massive demonstration against the government across the country as students with disability in the various tertiary institutions as part of our rights to press home our demands as espoused by article 21 of the 1992 constitution.
We will always engage government in camera to uphold the rights of the disabled in accordance with law but when the government proves intransigent, then we will have no option than to come public as we have done.
It remains an indubitable or incontrovertible truth that issues of disability in this country have been swept under the carpet but we are of the conviction that it is about time that we rose against such ignominious treatment given to such people in this country.
Persons with disability in this country have been languished to struggle on their own to survive without any clear policies to alleviate the predicaments faced by us.
The impediments in our path are too much to the extent that we are not considered by government in any decision made by the government.
These challenges hamper our progress as humans since we compete with the abled bodied persons for everything.
But we wish to assert that disability is no respecter of persons so we should be guided as a country through our actions by creating an inclusive environment for all without any semblance of discrimination and segregation against the disabled.
As a country that tout itself with an accolade of being the beacon of democracy in Africa, our attitude towards the disabled has not been the best at all as we continue to create excruciating pains for such people in everything we do.
Finally, we will elicit an unflinching support from the media and the general public to implore the government to do the needful for peace to prevail.
GILBERT BOATENG AGYARE: LEADER OF THE GROUP.
MELLISH KWAME AGYAPONG: PRESIDENT, CASSN