Two hundred students from the six coastal districts of the Western Region have earned an AKER Energy-GNPC scholarship for the 2019/20 academic year.
This will be a fulfillment of a promise to increase the number of beneficiaries from 150 to ensure that more brilliant but needy students are able to transit from Junior High School to Senior High School and in doing so inching closer to the realizing of their dreams.
The AKER Energy-GNPC Scholars Programme is presently the flagship social investment project of the upstream petroleum company operating the Deepwater Tano/Cape Three Points oil bloc.
The Scholars Programme, which began in 2012, has benefitted almost 800 students whose parents were financially challenged to provide secondary school education in the six coastal districts.
Each year beneficiaries justify the continuous investment in their education. Last month, during the West Africa Schools Certificate Examinations, over 40 of the beneficiaries who graduated from had 5As in 8 subjects.
Due to the introduction of the free senior high school policy, packages for beneficiaries have been now varied to provide books, trunks, chopbox, counselling and monitoring and career seminars.
At a ceremony to outdoor beneficiaries for the 2019/20 academic year, General Manager of Aker Energy Ghana Limited Jan Helge Skogen explained that the Scholars Programme was instituted because they appreciate the value of education to the growth and development of countries all over the world.
He also acknowledged that “there are families that have financial challenges in providing educational materials for their children and therefore Aker Energy and our partners are contributing our ‘widow’s mite’ to support families and communities to educate children in secondary school”.
Sharing his personal life of how he was able to achieve his goals despite a challenging financial background, Mr. Helge Skogen charged the beneficiaries to stay focused, persevere and use the opportunity to think beyond secondary school, by setting their goals on graduate and post-graduate education.
“Standing here, you might think that I come from a lavish background. I’m actually not. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a poor fisherman and my grandfather on my father’s side was a poor farmer. My father a worker and mother a secretary told me they want me to be the first in the family to go to a university. Here I am as the country manager for a major oil company in the Ghana. So set goals and stay committed to it and it will come true”.
Encouraged by the continuous sterling performance of the beneficiaries, Mr. Helge Skogen reiterated the company’s plan to develop a tertiary level scholarship so that students “we are supporting now can look forward to continuing their education to the tertiary level”.
Corporate Affairs Manager of GNPC Carmen Bruce Annan observed that it is easy for people to assume that persons in privileged positions were born that way but “it isn’t”.
“Behind their success, just as I was listening to Mr. Jan Helge Skogen, is a story of determination and perseverance. And in fact, I have many members of my family who could not afford their education”.
She encouraged the students never to stop learning.
“Opportunity does not waste time with the unprepared. There were other students that went ahead of you to make the way and made the most out of the opportunity. My encouragement will be that you also work hard so you can pave the way for others.”
Carman Bruce Annan said GNPC believes passionately in education as a tool for national development and have committed huge investments in that area.
“GNPC has been investing heavily in infrastructure from primary to tertiary level. We are also making significant investments into our leading universities to transform the delivery on STEM education.”
Director for Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education Mrs. Angelina Tena Mensah applauded AKER Energy and GNPC for supporting “these children who may have dropped out of school for making their dream of being in senior high school a reality”.
She stated that government has also introduced a number of interventions to ensure that the education of the Ghanaian child of school going age will not suffer due to financial constraints.
The duration of the AKER Energy Scholars Programme is three years but renewable every year based on academic and disciplinary record while in school.
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana