Young people who get the chance to study abroad have been advised to make it a point to return home and use the skills, knowledge and expertise to help in developing the country.
This is because it was the role and responsibility of young people as children of the country to come back and share what they had learnt with those who had not benefited from their experiences.
The Chairman of the Minerals Development Fund (MDF), Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, who gave the advice, stressed that human resource was key to national development and it behoved all who got the privilege to travel abroad to build their capacity to return home and contribute their quota to nation-building.
“I had no second thoughts when I completed my scholarship that I would return, and that’s why years later when I was asked by the BBC to work for them in London, I turned it down.
This is my place in this world,” he said.
Mr Sakyi-Addo, a famed and experienced journalist, was speaking at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Chevening Scholarship, the United Kingdom (UK) Government’s international scholarships programme, in Accra last Tuesday.
The gathering at the event
Established in 1983, the scheme enables unique and passionate young leaders from all over the world to pursue a one-year master’s degree in any course at any UK university by providing full financial support covering flights, accommodation and course fees, among others.
Ghana was one of the first countries to be part of the first recipients of the Chevening Scholarship; hence the Chevening Scholarship scheme is also 40 years old in Ghana.
The event also doubled as a farewell for 17 awardees who formed the 2023/2024 cohort of the scholarship to study programmes including human development, sustainability, global security, microbiology and fashion at universities such as Oxford, Leeds, Glasgow.
Mr Sakyi-Addo described the scholars as special because out of over 5,000 applicants who wanted the opportunity to better their lives by living and studying in prestigious universities in the UK, they were the fortunate ones to be selected.
Harriet Thompson (arrowed), British High Commissioner, with the beneficiaries of the 2023 Chevening Scholarship and some officials
“You’re special because you don’t have to risk your lives, brace the storms of the Mediterranean or the sand dunes of the desert.
“You don’t have to sleep in the streets and flee at the sight of the police and immigration officers when you go to Europe,” he stated.
The British High Commissioner to Ghana, Harriet Thompson, said at the heart of Chevening Scholarship is an intent to equip outstanding emerging leaders with the academic expertise, professional skills and the extensive network to create a better future for themselves, the country and the world at large.
She said education remained a top priority for the UK’s work with the country and added that the partnership was evident in every level of Ghana’s educational system; from scholarships to curriculum development, skills training and supporting quality teaching, and learning in public schools and colleges.
“Over the last four decades, we have awarded over 400 scholarships to Ghanaians who have since taken up influential positions across several sectors in Ghana: civil society, academia, media, creative arts, sports, law, security, artificial intelligence, trade and business and human development, among others,” she stressed.
The British High Commissioner said as the world strived to tackle issues such as climate change, poverty, access to quality and inclusive education, international cooperation was more essential than ever and that was why the scheme continued to support alumni when they returned to the country.
“We believe in you; your vision for Ghana’s development and your contribution to that, and that’s why you’ve been chosen by Chevening, so please make this opportunity count,” Ms Thompson added.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Education, Maamle Andrews, said the scholarships did not only foster academic excellence, but also facilitated cultural exchange and global collaboration.
“We, at the ministry, are happy to see our students given the chance to further their education in various areas because as a nation, we believe that investing in education will shore up our human capital index and position us to realise our national goals,” she added.