The term “Scholarship”, which involves grant or payment made to support a student’s education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement is a subject of immersed interest to the economists, because the aggregate factors driven by education that define individual’s behaviour in the scope of choices and constraint is the bedrock of a nation’s growth paradigm.
The preference of a citizen as a student to a college scholarship, which is the argumentative focus of this article, and the opportunities accessible to them relative to economic development is a critical interest to the author of this article.
Therefore, the article will analyze the opportunities that act as a fulcrum to market certain kinds of scholarship packages to students and the accuracy of students’ preferences as rational choice, and its long-term effect on national development.
The studied posterior evidences of students’ scholarship packages issued by some colleges, and in certain circumstances initiated by external philanthropic support in European systemic-set-up, is observed to have a positive correlation to human resources development capacity and national growth paradigm, with the deduced data established to be beyond the median average. However, similar studies on the continent of Africa, precisely within the West Africa region, evidences depict a wide divergence in most cases between the scholarship awards and human-development index-measurement that correlate to national growth.
This presents a question, what is wrong with most scholarship schemes developed around the West Africa community, which is, the zoned area of analytical focus of this article? The findings depict an opportunistic nature of some of these scholarships marketed to the students, as misleading packages presented to the targeted market, which result in poor preferences choices against the students and their quality human resources capacity development. And as Social scientists, if we premise that students of today are the agents of national development of tomorrow, then their choices of today in education and its repercussion for tomorrow, should be a paramount interest for investigation and policy designs.
It should be a desire as an economist to have a clarity of response to the question, “how should a particular scholarship issued by a college or a philanthropic agency for educational purposes be designed and marketed”? Because, there are several circumstances recorded, whereby, scholarship awards for students are marketed on opportunistic condition of easing financial burdens of the beneficiary in a context of exaggerated price structure of a programme study, which the central benefit is for the College solely, not necessarily the students as a citizen, taken into consideration their educational development welfare towards the country they hold an identity. And since, we have a situation whereby, most targeted students and supported guardians have no or less capacity to conduct critical analysis on such scholarship packages on an individual level for rational choices and decisions, then this article, with the intent of serving as a foundation towards future policy design and advocacy on scholarship related subjects, on how College scholarship should be administered and marketed, few questions will be designed below to guide choices cum decisions of potential beneficiaries to certain scholarship packages.
[I] What does it entail in the content-delivery of the programme to study, in which you have been offered a scholarship?
[II] The quality of the college in terms of academic content delivery? Feedback from past graduate students is recommended.
[III] The quality of personnel in delivering the offered programme of study; a quality background check of their impact to the society they serve is recommended.
[IV] The teaching resources and facilities of the College, to deliver the course under academic quality assurance and industrial experience.
[V] The Industrial relevance and career opportunities emerging from the programme of study
[VI] How is the scholarship dispensed; does it include, your basic needs as students, like feeding, hostel cost, and daily students expenses on college campus like photocopies of study materials, books etc.
[VII] What are your expected requirement of fulfilment as a cost, to become a full beneficiary to the scholarship package?
The above set-up standard questions should be a basic guiding and analytical matrix to define a student’s rational decision-making and choices of accepting to commit oneself as a beneficiary to a scholarship programme.
It is easier to observe, when the above questions are used as an assessment criteria and evaluation base to most of the scholarship package marketed to students in the West Africa region, it establishes a single conclusion of ‘high cost effects’ compared to its benefits. Which turns to make the entire scholarship scheme a negative exploitation tool.
Therefore, the article further urges independent scholars serving in certain colleges and schools at the University level within the West Africa region to pay serious attention to “Negative Scholarship Exploitation” against students because it has a medium and long term integrity effect in reference to their academic services background checks.
Professor Emmanuel Tweneboah Senzu, is a scholar in the field of Economics and Investment Banking, grounded in risk assessment, evaluation and analytical forecasting. He is the President Elect of Frederic Bastiat Institute Africa. Tsenzu@fbiresearchedu.org