One hundred and forty-two students from the Shama district of the Western and Greater Accra Regions have received scholarships from the West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCo) to pursue their education at various tertiary schools across the country.
Out of the 142 students, 104 are from Aboadze, Abuesi, Shama, Dwomo, Lower Inchaban – all in the Shama district; while the rest are from Tema Manhean and Kpone.
The students are to pursue programmes in mathematics medicine, pharmacy, engineering, law, social sciences and actuarial science.
For the past nine years, the company has invested more than GH¢4million on scholarship programme in the country, according to Dr. Isaac Adjei Doku, General Manager Corporate Affairs-WAPCo.
He believes that in the not distant future, the company’s host communities will have a number of professionals who contribute to developing their communities.
Dr. Doku was speaking at WAPCo’s Scholarship Award ceremony at Shama.
“This is an investment in the communities, and the company believes that through such initiatives it can contribute to the development of communities in which we operate,” Mr. Doku said.
He explained that the scholarship’s objective is to support brilliant but needy students to obtain secondary and technical education, and now university education as well as development of entrepreneurs.
According to him, the company also introduced the Community Youth Enterprise scheme (CYES) – which is a skills acquisition programme; and upon completion, WAPCo supports the beneficiaries with start-up tools to enable them set up their own businesses.
He said each year WAPCo supports ten young people from each of its seven host communities in Ghana to pursue their education. Five of the beneficiaries were selected under the scholarship scheme, and the other five for the Community Youth Enterprise Scheme.
The CYES, he added, provides the youth who have completed basic education, but cannot pursue further studies due to financial constraints, the opportunity to learn a trade of their choice in a recognised vocational and technical institution in Ghana.
“From the beginning of the West African Gas Pipeline Project, WAPCo decided to invest in the development of its stakeholder communities; particularly in programmes which have had cumulative impact on the generality of communities in which it works,” he said.
He mentioned that at the early stage and during the construction phase of the pipeline system, its investment in education was to assist local governments to provide the necessary school infrastructure in communities that lacked them.
“As a result, we have constructed a number of school projects in the district; key among them were the Abuesi Methodist Primary School, Shama Model School Junior High School and Kindergarten school blocks; and we renovated the Dwomo Methodist Junior High School,” he pointed out.
“After all the structures were in place, the company’s findings revealed that many parents had financial difficulties in catering for their children’s education at the secondary school level,” he said.
“Most of the children were ‘forced’ to end their education after Junior Secondary School level. “We also realised that many of the youth were not equipped with relevant skills for gainful and meaningful jobs, hence the need to support them through scholarship and the enterprise scheme,” he added.
Dr. Doku said after introduction of the Free Senior High School policy, the company reviewed the scholarship programme to support brilliant but needy students to pursue tertiary education in Ghana.
He said, so far, WAPCo has supported 447 students, made up of 339 students in the mainstream scholarship scheme and 108 students under the skills acquisition programme.
Nana Kwamena Wieno II, Paramount Chief of Shama Traditional Area, commended the company for its continued support.
“Scholarships from WAPCo have always been for a three-year period and not on a yearly basis as it has been done by other companies,” he said, urging parents to take full responsibility of their children and provide for their other needs.
Mrs. Afia Anoakoah-Quansah, Director of the Ghana Education Service at the Shama district, noted that WAPCo continues to invest in the communities in which it operates; and it must be commended for supporting those communities.
“This is a succession plan that the company is building; thank you for the foresight, this investment will not go waste,” she said, and urged beneficiaries to take advantage of this opportunity, learn harder and become responsible citizens.