Mr. Chairman, Hon Minister of Education and other Ministers of State Present, Outgoing Executives of USAG; Incoming Executives of USAG; Representatives of the various Student Blocks present, Family, Friends and the media Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour to witness yet another transfer of power within the USAG. On behalf of the entire Management and hardworking staff of the Students Loan Trust Fund, I wish therefore to congratulate all the new executives on their election. I also wish to commend the past executives for overseeing a smooth transfer of power. Even though I may not have tasted power yet, watching from afar, I can see that it must be a good feeling to be in power. It must be equally gratifying, but not to be forgotten that, the power you enjoy is a sign of the confidence and trust imposed on you by the people you represent. On that note, I wish you all well as you take over this very important responsibility to lead the University Students Association of Ghana to greater heights.
- The theme for your Handing-over and Swearing-in Ceremony, which states, inter alia; “Mobilizing for Ghana’s Future” is in sync with the nations upcoming 60th anniversary. It is therefore important to reflect on some of the highlights of H.E President Akufo-Addo when he unveiled the 60th Independence Anniversary theme and logo some 2weeks ago.
- At the ceremony, the President mentioned that the choice of the theme was a call to us not only to celebrate but also to reflect, unite and challenge ourselves. Again, he explained that the anniversary logo was to symbolize the diversity and unity of our country, and the aspirations of the Ghanaian people for a dignified and prosperous future.
- As students, representing one of the largest segment of our population, i.e. the youth, the statements above are a call on us; in our individual and collective roles;
- To invest our youthfulness in areas that empower us to realize the dream of a dignified and prosperous Ghanaian.
- To examine the choices and decisions we make now and in the future and objectively ask ourselves if we are on the right path?
- To wake up to the realization that the gift of a dignified and prosperous Ghanaian, will not fall like manna from heaven, which is free for all anyway, but rather for those who plan, prepare, and dedicate their time to the areas that deliver results in their academic and social lives.
- Equipping the youth most especially the Ghanaian student to be productive and useful to themselves and society is a collective responsibility for all. One of the surest ways to ensuring equity in the distribution of opportunities is through access to relevant tertiary education to all Ghanaians, irrespective of religion, ethnicity and socio economic backgrounds.
- The role of the Students Loan Trust Fund is crucial in promoting access to equal financing to eligible tertiary students nationwide. Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Guest Present; many of you may already know that the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) was established in 2005 to take over the responsibility of managing student’s loan in Ghana. The Fund was established to amongst others, fulfil the requirements of Articles 25(c) and 38(3, c) of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
- The object of its establishment is to ensure equal access to tertiary education for eligible Ghanaians with the intellectual ability to pursue tertiary education. The Fund has so far supported over 85,000 Ghanaian students attain tertiary education. Mr. Chairman, Hon Minister, Invited guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Students Loan Trust Fund will continue to work at improving how we deliver on our mandate, especially to our primary stakeholder (the Ghanaian Tertiary Student). Some critical activities that have been rollout to improve access and repayment include;
- The Pre-Registration Continuing Students Loan (PRC – Students Loan) which caters for students who need their students loan to pay their registration fees
- The Students Loan Plus (SL-Plus) meant to cater for students who gain admission to tertiary institutions but are financially handicapped in raising the initial, time-bound registration fees.
- The Deprived Senior High School Engagement Programme, which is an advocacy programme designed to empower Students (final year students in particular) and parents/guardians with information on the student’s financial support systems and products developed by the Students Loan Trust Fund and available to students when they gain admission to tertiary institution.
- It is also meant to educate the students on the benefits of higher education and raise aspirations of such students in deprived schools. The exercise which commenced in the 2016/17 academic year has been successfully piloted in 31 Deprived Senior High Schools in the Eastern, Central and Greater Accra Regions and covered approximately 24,000 SHS students.
- The quest of the SLTF to increase access, by expanding the guarantor space has resulted in many more stakeholders willing to participate to give Ghanaian Students tertiary education. it is my pleasure to announce that about 30 Churches are guaranteeing for their members, a second Muslim group, the Zakat and Sadaqa Trust Fund (Z&STF) has also come on board to guarantee for Muslims, additionally, MMDAs in 7 out of the 10 regions are guaranteeing for students from their district. I must add, however, that there is still a lot of work to be done with respect to expanding the guarantor space, since the guarantor requirement is a legal one.
- In ensuring the sustainability of the Student Loan Trust Fund, Mr. Chairman, repayment pay point have, since 2015, been increased from 108 and to over 380 nationwide through partnerships with the private sector. In addition, employer deductions, and walk-in service is available at all the 15offices of the SLTF nationwide. Furthermore, the Students Loan Recovery Clinics have been instituted to bring students loan repayments to the doorsteps of borrowers in the informal sector and Non-SSNIT contributors in the formal sector.
- As a new executive, we will have to work together, just as we did with your predecessors to dignify the principle of taking student’s loan and repaying such loans when they become due. The Students Loan Trust Fund remains committed to delivering an efficient student’s loan that responds to the emerging needs of our times. The Ghanaian students must rise up to the expectation by attaining relevant tertiary education. And, just as H.E the President said when he unveiled the theme and logo we can continue to mobilize for Ghana’s future and give meaning to the statement “I am a Ghanaian”.
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GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY.