Securing the Bright Futures of Needy but Brilliant Students in Ghana

Spread the love
I also met Stephen Koomson via my social media timelines, alongside his impressive West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results.

In case you do not know the story of Master Stephen Koomson— he recently received a full scholarship, to hopefully, enable him study law at the University of Ghana (Legon), 2014, next academic year.

The financial scholarship was awarded by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), after Stephens’ story broke on various social media platforms. Images of 21 year old Stephen, huddled in mud as he digs for gold, along with scanned images of his excellent wassc result can be seen on all over the internet.

Koomson attended Mpohor Senior High School and had 5As and 3Bs in the 2021 WASSCE Examination. He was, however, forced to engage in galamsey activities in order to gather funds to continue with his education due to economic difficulties.

So that is it!

When I sat for my final senor high school exams in 2008, I couldn’t swing such admirable grades. I managed a chain of B’s and C’s, which I was quite satisfied with. (I mean, there was nothing else I could do. And I was not willing to re-sit any papers).

I don’t bring this up to compare or admit I wasn’t a studious student while in school. I actually was, but I raise the mirror up to reiterate some known facts;

That unfortunately, opportunities will never be distributed equally in the world, and although we all come with incredible diverse talents, only a few will have real chances to explore the full capacities of their gifts and skills— even to live out their dreams.

Should this be so? I am not sure I can morally answer this question. Yet, as I have matured in age and wisdom, I have observed that, it is the way of the world. Without availability and accessibility to opportunities and resources, people are left to make the most of fate, as they have it.

Truth of the matter is, even with my B’s and C’s, I did not for ones think that I would not continue my education to become a reflection of my aspirations. Why? Because I was coming from a home with some amount of resources allocated to support my hopes, goals and development.

It is rather unfortunate that millions of young brilliant and ambitious Ghanaians don’t have it setup like that, but instead, are living out some bleak dire versions of Master Stephen Koomsons’ story.., well until GNPC stepped in. In a twitter post, GNPC said it would work with other stakeholders to ensure that Koomson got admission to study Law at the University of Ghana next academic year.

At a meeting with the former Mpohor SHS student and his guardians, the Executive Director of the GNPC Foundation, Dr Dominic Eduah, described Stephen’s circumstance as an “unfortunate situation deserving immediate attention.”

“We are enrolling him on the GNPC scholarship immediately to put his dreams of becoming a lawyer back on track, and we are just as excited to offer him an opportunity to facilitate this in consonance with the tenets of our education and training mandate,” he added.

Mr Koomson has expressed his gratitude to his benefactors for acting on his story to ensure the life and future he envisioned as a boy would become a reality.

While it is immensely commendable that the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has come to the aid of Master Stephen Koomson with a scholarship, to enable him to further his education, it really didn’t have to get so dire for Master Koomson, in the first place, and the many others whose unfortunate stories are yet to make the news and online blogs.  

Going forward, the Ministry of Education and affiliated agencies must prioritize scholarship schemes to provide more financial support to brilliant but needy students. We also need more public and private collaborations that expand the reach of scholarships and learning resources. Furthermore, existing scholarships must be publicized and strengthened with clear eligibility criteria, application processes and evaluation procedures to ensure deserving candidates are receiving the support based on standardized merits.

There is a need for more online learning resources, that include free access to educational materials, textbooks, notes, and multimedia resources. Online learning platforms can facilitate free interactive learning for students across the country.

While many communities are heavily invested in education in their districts and municipalities, there is still a need to do more. Engaging local communities is crucial for identifying and supporting deserving students. By working closely with community leaders, schools, and parents, the government can establish more scholarships at the local levels.

Last but not least, we need to strengthen Career Guidance and Mentorships. Financial scholarships are just one part of the equation; mentorship and career guidance are equally important.

Establishing mentorship programs that connect successful professionals with talented students can provide valuable guidance and inspire them to achieve their full potential. Career guidance services can help students make informed decisions about their academic and professional pathways, ensuring that their talents are nurtured in the right direction.