PhD scholars from Ghana studying on a joint agreement between the government of Ghana and DAAD, Germany face serious problems in their stay in Germany if they don’t get access to their stipend from the Ghana government.
A colleague lamented: “I can’t believe this is happening and we seem not to talk about it!” In Ghana, we believe in maintaining the status quo. We do not question even when things are not right.
Those who question the system are deemed radicals. Indeed, we appreciate the Ghana government in her great quest to promote, enhance,foster education and bilateral exchange among students, researchers and corporate bodies so as to improve and build collaboration beyond the shores of Ghana.
It is however, unfortunate seeing how PhD students on the joint DAAD-Ghana Government scholarship in Germany are going through difficult times. This is very devastating and heart breaking. Their scholarship letter clearly stipulates that the grant will be awarded as part of a co-financed support programme. DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) pays 20% and keeps its part of the agreement by paying their portion on time before the 30th day of every month.
The Ghana Government is supposed to pay 80% per month and since the start of the PhD programme for this semester which began in October, no monies from the government of Ghana have been paid.Most unfortunately is how the previous group (those that came before us)suffered this in the past 6 months and continue to suffer this without payment of their stipends.
It appears this is not peculiar to students in Germany but across the world where other Ghanaian scholarship holders pursue masters and PhD.A sad situation which gives Ghana a bad identity. How on earth can students survive in another man’s land without their stipends?
We still wonder how to provide for ourselves, pay rents, registration and semester fees. You may be aware that we are in winter and this being our first year requires that we purchase winter clothing to protect ourselves against the extreme cold that we expect in Germany which can go below zero to even minus 20 degrees. We also face possible ejection from our rented rooms, ridicule, stress and shame as we continue to wonder how this is happening.
One turns to wonder if the government ever cares about the future of its citizens. PhD training is no easy path amidst the challenge of rigorous research experiments involving enormous amount of time and focus. One completes the day having to wonder and worry about where the next meal or support is coming from and yet,we go about preaching patriotism and nation building.
How can we all build a nation if the basic needs and help as citizens are not provided most especially when left stranded in a foreign land? We are the future of the nation and we are building our capacities and research skills through hard work and dedication so as to give back and help in our Universities. We also serve as “ambassadors” in Germany in all our endeavours.
It must be noted that many refined Ghanaian Scientist and PhD scholars have been trained in Germany and scholars from Ghana are noted for their impressive contributions, dedication, hard work and determination. However,the current situation we face may hinder the smooth acquisition of knowledge which the Germans have willingly put to our disposal.
We do not know why these delays occur or barely have any ideas with regard to the disbursement process. We can’t ascertain whether the Scholarship Secretariat, Ministry of Finance or the Ghana Embassy in Berlin are the causes of these delays.
Why can’t a bulk payment be made to DAAD for scheduled periods so it becomes only DAAD that pays us as agreed.
We humbly appeal to the President, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo and His high office to come to our aid and help quickly solve these delays. Despite the current situation at hand we remain Ghanaians and committed to our beloved nation. God bless Ghana our Motherland.