Hess Ghana Exploration Limited has, in conjunction with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), awarded scholarships to 125 ‘brilliant but needy’ students, under the fourth edition of its annual ‘Hess-GNPC Scholars Programme’.
Announcing this at Nsein Secondary School in the Western Region last week, Ms. Sandra Gentile — General Manager Hess Ghana Exploration Limited, said the number selected for 2015 marks a 25% increase over the previous year’s; and brings the total number of beneficiaries to date up to 396.
The scholarship fully covers the entire government-approved costs (boarding fees, administrative fees, books, kits, uniforms) and other auxiliary costs including: trunk, chop box, mattress, sheets; and pocket money for three years of Senior High School, and Vocational Training or Health Training (Nursing) depending on the applicant’s choice.
Ms. Gentile emphasised that the sterling performance of the first batch of scholars, who have just graduated, motivated the company to increase this year’s intake as a reward for blazing the trail. Beneficiaries will begin their respective programmes this month in six partner institutions: Half Assini Senior High School, Nsein Senior High School, Nkroful Agricultural Senior High School; St. Martin de Porres Hospital, St. Theresa’s Vocational Institute, and Kikam Technical Institute.
“The size of the first year’s class, 71, was based on the need to develop the programme efficiently and measure success. Now that this has been tested with commendable results, we are pleased to increase the intake and expand the beneficiary districts to create more room for other prospective students. We hope the achievements of the first students will spur their compatriots on to greater heights,” Gentile said.
Alexander Mould, Chief Executive of GNPC, noted that: “Our frontline communities are dear to our hearts and we ensure that our social investments are well-targetted to achieve the best outcomes. The scholarship is supporting the most disadvantaged in coastal districts of the Western Region.”
Minister for Petroleum Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah — in a statement delivered on his behalf by the Director of Petroleum, Mr. Willieson Shamo — said government is keen on building a robust oil and gas industry and recognise this scholarship scheme as very essential in augmenting efforts toward achieving that goal.
‘Hess-GNPC Scholars’ was developed in response to a study of health and educational needs in Ghana, and the coastal Western Region in particular, to identify potential areas where the companies could make a measurable and sustainable difference. The scholarship initially targetted students in three districts — Nzema East, Jomoro and Ellembelle — with emphasis on girls’ education.
This year, two additional companies — Fueltrade Ltd. and Lukoil Overseas Ghana Tano Ltd. — have joined the partnership, and the scholarship programme has been extended to include the Shama and Ahanta West districts.
The scholars were selected through a process supported by the District Education Directorate (DED), which distributed and received applications via its supervisors. Each district was given 150 application forms to distribute. Criteria for selection were based on BECE examination results, a personal statement, chosen programme, gender and household income, so as to balance the level of need with academic achievement. Shortlisted candidates were all interviewed individually by a committee comprising District Representatives, Hess Corporation management and GNPC.
Gentile added that scholars are provided with counselling and mentoring on a regular basis throughout their studies, and through a Memorandum of Understanding partner institutions are also regularly visited and monitored for compliance. She appealed to parents and the community at large to provide maximum support for the scholars in other, diverse ways to ensure there is no deviation from the chosen academic and leadership path.