Ghanaians studying in Russia on government of Ghana scholarship have been thrown out of their hostels for their inability to pay rent; a situation occasioned by government’s failure to release their bursaries.
Each of the students is entitled to a quarterly stipend of 900 dollars for their upkeep, and additional 560 dollars yearly for books, health insurance and accommodation among other expenditure.
But the students say their grant for the last quarter of 2016 [October, November, December] which was supposed to have been paid at the start of the academic year, have not yet been released by the government.
This they say, has left some of them stranded and likely to cause a lot more to be ejected from their hostels if the government does not release their bursaries by the end of November.
Some of the affected students have meanwhile taken to cleaning hostels in exchange of accommodation, while others are perching with non – scholarship students and Ghanaian residents in Russia, making access to their campus a challenge due to cost of transportation.
Others have also had to raise monies from snow cleaning to renew their visas in order not to face deportation.
Vice President of the National Union of Ghanaian Students in Russia (NUGS Russia) Abdul-Kadir Ameyaw told 3News that over 200 students are at risk of catching cold as they trek daily under unfavourable weather conditions to campus.
He said 39 fresh scholarship students who arrived in Russia from Ghana on November 14 with the hope of receiving stipends for their hostels, medical insurance, winter clothing, academic documentation have also been left stranded.
“It took a threat of demonstration to receive our 4th quarter stipends in February 2016 instead of October 2015. There is no need to sit for February 2017 so we will push them till we get the money as early as possible.” Abdul-Kadir said.
The students fear that after elections, structural changes in either the new or the existing government will delay the stipends even further. They said attempts by fresh students to get financial assistance from home have been unfruitful as monies borrowed by parents for their flight are yet to be paid.
Several attempts to speak to registrar of the scholarship secretariat Fuseini Lansah has proved futile. According to NUGS Russia, they petitioned Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur to fast track the release of stipends when he attended the St. Petersburg International Forum in June but are yet to receive a favourable response.