The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) plans to channel funds, set aside for its Farmers Scholarship Trust for beneficiaries entering Senior High Schools (SHS), into developing school infrastructure for needy communities.
For almost 5 decades, the Ghana Cocoa Board, through its scholarship scheme, has provided scholarship for children of cocoa farmers in SHS, by paying for their tuition, including examination fees, boarding and feeding.
However, according to the CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, with the introduction of the free SHS, the need for the fund to continue paying school fees is curtailed, thus the decision to channel that money into other profitable use within the education sector.
Speaking to cocoa farmers’ at Kokobeng in the Akim Swedru District, the CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board said: “Due to the free SHS introduced by the government, we want to channel that fund into improving school infrastructure in areas where the children walk several kilometres before they can access education facilities,” he stated.
He, however, indicated that the proposal was awaiting the approval of the Board of COCOBOD.
In further justifying the need for the scholarship to be abolished, the CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board said with the first batch of the free SHS students now in Form Three, the fund for the scholarship has not been utilized. Therefore if the approval was given by the board, his outfit would take the initiative to use the fund to develop and improve infrastructure to address these challenges associated with schools.
“In Cocoa Board, our scholarship is awarded to children going to the senior high school, but the government has made it free and that is why we want to invest in infrastructure, after our research showed that some of the children walked over three kilometres before they could access educational facilities,” he explained.
COCOBOD Farmers Scholarship Trust
The Ghana Cocoa Board instituted the cocoa scholarship Award scheme as part of its welfare services to cocoa farmers for the education of their children in second cycle schools.
Averagely, COCOBOD sponsors about 7,500 students per year for the three-year SHS programme.