Ghanaian scholarship students in Russia have been forced into menial jobs such as hostels and snow cleaning in their struggle to survive
Reports from 3News reveal that Ghanaian students on government scholarship in Russia have not been receiving their bursaries. This has resulted to their being turned out of hostels due to failure to pay their accommodation fees.
Each of the students is entitled to a quarterly allowance of 900 dollars for their upkeep. They are also entitled to a yearly allowance of 560 dollars each for books, health insurance and accommodation and 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. According to them, this has left so many of them stranded as they are unable to meet up with the payment of their accommodation fees; a situation that has made the school to send them packing from their hostels. It was also reported that some of the students risk deportation if they do not find money to renew their visas.
As a result of this, some of the affected students have been forced to do menial jobs to earn little money to sustain themselves. While some have taken to cleaning hostels in exchange of accommodation, others engage in snow cleaning.
There are also those perching with non – scholarship students and Ghanaian residents in Russia, making access to their campus a challenge due to cost of transportation. 3News gathered from Abdul Kadir, one of the Ghanaian scholarship students in Russia, that over 200 students are at risk of catching cold as they trek daily under unfavourable weather conditions to campus.
Abdul also revealed that 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.
He went further to explain that it took a threat of demonstration to receive their 4th quarter stipends in February 2016 – the one they suppose to have received in October 2015. He therefore indicated that there is no need to wait till February 2017, but to start now to push the government to pay the grants as early as possible.
The students are afraid that after elections, structural changes in either the new or the existing government will delay the allowances 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.
Meanwhile, 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 students’ bursaries when he attended the St. Petersburg International Forum in June but are yet to receive a favourable response.
It is good that the Ghanaian scholarship students in Russia are acquainted with happenings in the country as regards government’s payment of students’ allowances. This will make them to be aware that they are not alone in the unpleasant situation.