The National Union of Ghana Students met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, yesterday.
This was in response to concerns raised by numerous students who were denied visas after receiving overseas scholarships, as well as the poor conditions experienced by certain students on Government of Ghana Scholarships abroad.
The Union expressed worry over the poor timing of student visa interviews, which results in many students losing their scholarships by the time visas are issued. The Deputy Minister’s attention was also directed to cases in which some students meet all of the measurable standards yet are nonetheless denied visas.
Whereas the Foreign Affairs Ministry cannot compel foreign missions to grant visas, the Deputy Minister stated that there are certain criteria of disqualification that are not made public by embassies.
The Union should petition the Ministry on behalf of those students who meet the tangible requirements for a follow-up by the ministry to ascertain the challenge and intervene.
He further stated that the unfavourable visa interview scheduling is due to the large number of applicants who cannot be processed at the same time owing to covid constraints.
The Deputy Minister expressed regret for students in other countries who are experiencing delays in receiving their scholarship stipends and assured the Union of his commitment to ensuring the intervention of our missions overseas.
He also asked the Union to advise students to apply for scholarships in countries such as Norway, Finland, Sweden, China, and Russia, which have less pressure on their embassies than the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Ministry accepted the Union’s proposal to collaborate with them in order to educate students about minor issues that lead to visa refusals, such as students’ lack of knowledge about the geographical location of destination cities abroad, cultural practices of destination countries, displays of unwillingness to return to Ghana in their responses to questions, and inability to avoid prejudice in their composure and outlook.