The first batch of 40 students from Zongos and deprived communities to study medicine in Cuba are expected to depart tomorrow, February 25.
This follows a successful negotiation by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia with the Cuban Government, last year.
Ahead of their departure, the beneficiaries, accompanied by officials from the National Scholarship Secretariat, Zongo Development Fund, Office of the Vice President and some eminent Zongo chiefs, paid a courtesy call on the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Dr Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu, at his residence at Fadama, in Accra, on Monday, to invoke Allah’s blessings on them.
The National Chief Imam prayed for them and provided wise counseling to the beneficiaries and charged them to use the opportunity offered them to become useful citizens so that after their course of study, they would make meaningful contributions and impact their immediate families, communities and the entire society.
He encouraged them to take their studies seriously and eschew any act of laziness and abominable behaviour that could derail their vision of becoming medical practitioners.
The Minister of State at the Office of the Vice President, Boniface Abu-bakar Saddique, also the Member of Parliament for Madina, said the Akufo-Addo-led government established the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development to bring social transformation to Zongo communities, particularly providing education and capacity enhancing opportunities to the youth.
He said government was on course to fulfilling all the promises it made to the Zongo Communities during the electioneering in 2016 and would never disappoint them.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, a Deputy Minister of Education, for his part, said most advanced nations worldwide tapped into their human resource to develop, therefore government would continue to providing all the necessary opportunities to educate the Ghanaian youth towards transforming the economy.
Dr Adutwum, also the Member of Parliament for Bosomtwi in the Ashanti Region, cited the South Korea’s Development Model as a classic example where the Koreans offered Gross Tertiary Enrolment to 93.6 per cent of its youthful population, compared to Ghana’s figure of 17 per cent.
In that regard, the Akufo-Addo-led administration was making a quick departure from the past by investing in the education of the Ghanaian youth through the Free Senior High School (FSHS) Policy so that no Ghanaian child is left behind.
Dr Adutwum encouraged the beneficiaries not to underestimate themselves and should exude confidence in all their dealings since the Blackman was capable to compete at equal level with any human race globally and excel.
Mr Kingsley Agyeman, the Head of the National Scholarship Secretariat, lauded Vice President Bawumia for negotiating a good deal for the nation, explaining that, in 2012, the then NDC government negotiated a similar arrangement with the Cuban Government to train medical doctors, which cost the nation $96, 060 per student to complete the six-year course.
Eight years down the line, he said Vice President Bawumia last year, negotiated a similar arrangement with the Cuban Government and it would cost the nation $55,000 per student to complete the course.
Mr Agyeman gave the assurance that government would provide all the necessary support including stipends and accommodation to the beneficiaries for them to successfully complete the course.
He said the beneficiaries went through a strict selection regime at the Scholarship Secretariat devoid of any favouritism.