Ghanaian students in Serbia cry over delayed stipends

Some Ghanaian students studying in Serbia say they are facing significant hardships due to delayed stipends from the Scholarship Secretariat.

These stipends, meant to support academic activities, have been stagnant for over a year, causing severe impacts on their studies and mental well-being as they navigate life in a foreign land.

Citi News’ engagement with some students revealed that their livelihoods rely heavily on loans or low-paying jobs.

Abdul Salam Mohammed, a Ghanaian Student in Serbia said, “We came in May [2023] and we haven’t received our stipends since last year, so it’s almost been 11 months. Even though we’ve had constant engagement with the Secretariat, nothing has been done about it and this has been a challenge for us. Many of us are adapting by doing a lot of menial jobs here and there which is also affecting our academics.

Another student who spoke on anonymity stated, “I arrived in Serbia last year and the main challenge here is with finances. We struggle to cater for many of our needs here and this affects our studies which is the main reason why we’re in this country. We borrow money from our country mates and people from other African countries to feed ourselves. Even moving to the main campus for lectures is by bus and if we don’t have money to do that, how do we learn.”

These discussions surrounding scholarships have intensified following an investigative report by The Fourth Estate, uncovering instances of influential individuals and associates of powerful figures receiving scholarships, deviating from the Scholarship Secretariat’s intended purpose of assisting academically gifted but financially needy students, both locally and internationally.

This revelation has stirred public outrage, especially as some students abroad continue to struggle with delayed stipends, hindering their academic pursuits.

Equal sentiments are shared by Ghanaian students studying in Hungary.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Institute for Education Studies, Dr. Peter Anti Partey, has described the situation as ‘unfortunate’ and called for a Presidential intervention to address the issue.

“It is a bit strange because while these huge sums of money are being given to people, others are out there complaining that monies supposed to be paid them haven’t been received. It’s a messy situation, and that’s why we think that it shouldn’t be limited to the Office of the Special Prosecutor but also the President must make an intervention, and set up a commission of enquiry and at the end of the day we can have far-reaching recommendations that would reform the scholarship secretariat.”

Source: Afua Adwubi Wiafe Akenteng

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