By Justina Paaga, GNA
Takoradi, Sept. 5, GNA - A total of 150 academically promising students from low income backgrounds were on Wednesday awarded scholarship packages through the 2018 Aker Energy -GNPC Scholarship programme.
This year's beneficiaries brings to 794 students to enrol in senior high School, technical, vocational and health institutions under the Aker Energy / GNPC scholarship programme initiated in 2012.
The programme historically provided full scholarship, covering the cost of school fees, including; examination fees and boarding costs, books and academic material, but following the free SHS policy initiated last year by the government, the programme this year included; strong emphasis on mentoring and counselling to improve on their overall performance.
The ceremony, which was attended by the Western Regional Minister Dr Kwaku Afriyie and his Deputy, Mrs Eugenia Gifty Kusi, Chiefs, Queen mothers, heads of departments, parents and stakeholders was interspersed with poetry recitals and music from the beneficiaries.
Mr Jan Helge slogan, Country manager of Aker Energy, said the ambition of his outfit was to go beyond the local content regulation to share knowledge and experience in a way that contributed not only to achieving short-term goals, but also to meet the medium and long-term ambition of the local oil and gas industry in Ghana.
He said it was in line with this ambition that the Aker Energy-GNPC scholarship programme supported by their partners Lukoil and Fueltrade decided to continue the implementation of the previously known HESS-GNPC scholarship programme.
Mr Skogen expressed happiness about the success of the programme, which had contributed to the academic advancement of the beneficiaries.
"Scholars have regularly represented their schools at annual national science and maths quiz at regional and National levels ".
Several persons had received the Presidential awards for excellence academic performance and more than 40 nurses were trained in midwifery, general nursing, and clinical Anaesthesia with an additional 15 nurses to be trained this year.
He said the best grades obtained in the WASSCE within the Nzema district over the past three years had come from scholars of the programme, adding that this year for instance one of the beneficiaries obtained Grade A in seven subjects and one B in the WASSCE.
He encouraged the incoming and current Aker Energy -GNPC scholars to keep raising the bar for their academic performance and discipline to become examples in their various communities.
On his part, Dr Kwame Baah -Nuakoh, General Manager, Sustainability, GNPC said they were focusing the scholarships on tertiary students who were into science, technology, Engineering and mathematics.
He said last year, GNPC foundation awarded1,000 Scholarships that included; 300 from the western region and GNPC had established research and professional chairs with the university of Ghana, university of Cape Coast, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and University of Mines Tarkwa ,with each school receiving $250,000 for four years.
He said GNPC also organised STEM quiz in the western region this year for 500 students from 132 schools in the 23 districts of the western region, adding that 100 students selected from the exercise would upgrade their knowledge and skills at the Accra Digital centre.
Dr Baah-Nuakoh hinted that GNPC was building 50 six-unit classroom blocks nationwide, providing furniture, and science laboratories, building sanitary facilities as well as building dormitories for Nsein SHS , Bompeh secondary technical and Sekondi -Takoradi School for the Deaf.
Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II, President of the Western Region House of Chiefs, who chaired the programme commended AkerEnergy for the support and urged the public to support the oil companies operating in the Western Region and not chastise them.
He advised the beneficiaries not to use their remittance in buying expensive phones and birthday gifts, but to use it judiciously by helping other family members and tasked parents of the beneficiaries to cooperate with the sponsors by contributing their quota.
AkerEnergy AS Ghana is a subsidiary of Norwegian-based oil exploration and production firm, AkerEnergy AS, is the operator of the Deep-water Tano Cape Three Points block ( DWT/CTP) with a 50 percent participating interest in the license and aims at becoming the offshore oil and gas operators of choice in Ghana.