Scholarships play a vital role in education

Avatar Eric Mbotiji
Member since September 27, 2014
  • 21 Posts
  • Age 29

Taking a walk down the streets of Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon, I overheard two young people conversing. They were comparing their standards and level of education. One of them talked about how he has gone to a professional university and will soon be enrolling to do his masters program.

His friend heaved, sighed, and said he wished his dream of becoming an agricultural engineer could be a reality but his parents cannot afford for the cost of training him to a professional school like his friend.

Their discussion stroked my nerves and it got me thinking of how many young people’s dreams are quickly crushed because of little or no means of furthering their education. In Cameroon, most of the state universities offer majority of their programs in general education which arms students just with teaching and pedagogic skills. The few available professional universities are private and the cost of enrolling there is very expensive and not everybody can afford it.

Two weeks later, I attended a Commonwealth conference in the town of Bamenda and I was thrilled and amazed by the number of papas and mamas who were distinguished professors and successful individuals. To satisfy my curiosity, I made my way during the launch break to find out from one of the great states men how his educational life flourished.

He began with a gentle laugh and told me that he came from a very humble background in a certain village and it is thanks to scholarships that he studied in prestigious national and international institutions that has made him whom he is today.

Today there are practically no scholarships schemes put in place by the government to enable young people to achieve their dreams. This is indeed very sad, because most African countries, are economically rich to invest highly in the educational sector and even to provide scholarships.

Scholarships were and are intended to encourage brilliant minds to pursue their studies, giving the opportunity for underprivileged kids to go to school and contribute in the building of the nation. Sampling the opinions of many students down the streets of Yaounde on the role of scholarships in education, many recounted to me the stories of great men they read and discovered most of them had a scholarship aid to realize their studies which eventually led to their dreams.

Their responses expressed the need for the government to re-introduce scholarship schemes especially at the tertiary levels. After a little chat with one of the students, she told me her dream was to be a surgeon, and she had very good results to permit her to gain admission to a medical school. But since her parents were poor and there were no scholarships to enable her to pursue her dreams, it finally gave up the ghost and today she is a teacher.

Nothing is so pure and sweet as growing up, getting inspired and dreaming of been in a certain career and being it. One of the reasons why there is inefficiency, low out-put and absence of creativity is because many people are not working in their dream jobs. Scholarships can change all of these by giving people a shot to becoming what they really want to become in life.

The late great Nelson Mandela once said, education is the only way out of poverty. I am pleading on all governments especially those from developing nations to re-introduce national scholarship schemes to help and enable young people pursue their education and become great future leaders. Before we as young people work to achieve the future we want, we are calling on the governments to believe in us by investing in our educational future and the provision of scholarships, is just one of the ways.

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