Two oil companies, Hess Corporation Ghana and the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) on Thursday launched a scholarship scheme for students in the frontline districts of the oil exploration field off Cape Three Points.
The first batch of 71 students drawn from Nzema East, Ellembelle and Jomoro Districts were presented with their scholarship awards at a ceremony held at Esiama.
The students are entering senior high schools, vocational institutions and nursing training colleges.
In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Thomas Manu, GNPC’s Director of Operations, said the awards covered tuition, administrative fees and stationery.
He said selection was based on performance at the Basic Education Certificate Examination and interviews held by a panel comprising educationists, parents, assembly members and representative of the donors.
Brilliant but needy students were also considered, he added.
Mr Manu said as much as Hess and GNPC were prepared to invest in their education to the highest level, the sustenance of programme for each beneficiary student would be based on his or her academic performance.
He said any student who performed below standard would have the scholarship withdrawn and offered to another serious person.
“It is my hope that this scholarship program will enable us to work together in the communities for many years to come as the success will leave a positive and indelible impression in the minds and hearts of the people,” Mr Manu said.
Madam Sandra Gentile, Hess Ghana Country Manager, expressed the hope that the programme would provide new opportunities for young people in the Western Region with the foundation necessary for a rewarding career that would impact positively on the economy.
She said the donors would monitor the students’ academic performance and personal development.
Mr Lee Ocran, Minister of Education, advised the students to eschew negative activities and gear their efforts at studying very hard.
Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, MP for Ellembelle, said the oil discovery in the country required capacity building and skill development in that field to gain employment.
Awulae Amihere Kpanyili, Paramount Chief of Atuabo, chaired the function and called for more agricultural institutions in the area.