Feature: Targeting for the Free SHS Program:  Manipulation in Cocoa Scholarships, GETFund should guide us

The Free Senior High School (Free SHS) program stands as a beacon of hope, promising equal educational opportunities for all Ghanaian students.

Since its inception, the program has aimed to eliminate financial barriers that hinder access to quality secondary education, fostering social mobility and national development.

However, as with any ambitious initiative, there exist risks of corruption and manipulation within the targeting process, potentially undermining the program’s noble objectives.

Corruption, a persistent global challenge, threatens the integrity and effectiveness of social programs.

If the Free SHS program is reviewed to target only students from disadvantaged backgrounds, the targeting process of the program will not be exempt from this risk, as evidenced by past cases of manipulation in similar educational initiatives such as cocoa scholarships and the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).

These cases serve as stark reminders of the potential consequences when targeted assistance intended for the most vulnerable and deserving students falls victim to manipulation, misrepresentation, or favoritism.

In examining the corruption cases related to cocoa scholarships, it becomes apparent that the targeting process was exploited, diverting resources from their intended beneficiaries.

Instances of misappropriation of funds, the allocation of scholarships to ineligible recipients, and other acts of malfeasance tarnished the program’s credibility.

Consequently, deserving students, particularly those from cocoa farming communities, were denied opportunities for educational advancement, perpetuating the cycle of poverty and inequality.

Similarly, corruption within the GETFund has cast a shadow over educational development in Ghana. The targeting process meant to distribute educational resources and scholarships has been compromised, resulting in mismanagement, diversion of funds, and nepotism.

The consequences of such corruption within the GETFund reverberate across the education sector, hindering progress and exacerbating existing disparities.

These examples are not isolated incidents, as corruption has plagued education programs worldwide.

Scholarships allocated based on political influence, fraudulent documentation, and favoritism have been observed, demonstrating the vulnerability of targeting processes to manipulation. Such corruption erodes public trust in government initiatives and fosters an environment of inequality and injustice.

Therefore, it is imperative to caution against the potential manipulation in the targeting process of the Free SHS program.

Ensuring fair and transparent mechanisms for identifying and supporting eligible students is crucial to maintain the program’s integrity and maximize its impact.

By proactively addressing corruption risks, the government can instill confidence in the program, promote social cohesion, and uplift the most marginalized communities.

In this article, I will delve into the corruption cases surrounding cocoa scholarships, the GETFund, and other educational programs, drawing lessons from these instances to raise awareness about the potential pitfalls of targeting manipulation in the Free SHS program.

By examining the consequences of corruption and emphasizing the need for transparent systems, accountability, and public engagement, we aim to caution the government and stakeholders about the urgent need to safeguard the integrity of the targeting process.

Only by addressing corruption head-on can we ensure that the Free SHS program fulfills its mission of equal access to education, empowering generations of Ghanaian students to realize their full potential and contribute to the nation’s progress.

Section 1: Corruption in Cocoa Scholarships

The targeting process for educational scholarships, specifically those intended for cocoa farmers’ children, has been marred by corruption in Ghana.

The allocation of cocoa scholarships, meant to support the education of deserving students from cocoa-growing communities, has become a breeding ground for manipulation and misappropriation of funds.

These instances of corruption not only undermine the principles of fairness and equal opportunity but also perpetuate socioeconomic inequalities.

One striking example of corruption in cocoa scholarships involves the misallocation of funds designated for scholarships. In some cases, funds intended for the education of cocoa farmers’ children have been diverted or embezzled for personal gain.

The individuals responsible for managing these scholarships, entrusted with the noble task of supporting education, have betrayed the trust placed in them and contributed to the deprivation of deserving students.

Moreover, the targeting process for cocoa scholarships has been compromised through the allocation of scholarships to ineligible recipients. This practice has effectively denied opportunities to deserving students while favoring individuals with connections or influence.

The criteria for eligibility, such as residency in cocoa-growing areas or parental involvement in cocoa farming, have been manipulated, leading to a system where merit takes a backseat to nepotism and favoritism.

The consequences of corruption in cocoa scholarships are far-reaching. Firstly, deserving students who meet the necessary criteria but lack connections or influence are unjustly excluded from educational opportunities.

This perpetuates a cycle of poverty, as access to quality education is vital for social mobility and breaking the chains of intergenerational deprivation.

By denying deserving students their right to education, corruption in targeting deprives them of a chance to improve their lives and contribute to the development of their communities.

Furthermore, corruption erodes public trust in government initiatives and educational programs. When individuals perceive that the targeting process is manipulated or influenced by personal interests, faith in the system diminishes.

This skepticism can have far-reaching implications, leading to decreased public support, decreased participation, and a general sense of disillusionment.

The repercussions of such mistrust go beyond the immediate impact on the cocoa scholarship program, extending to other government interventions aimed at enhancing access to education.

To address corruption in cocoa scholarships and protect the integrity of the targeting process, robust oversight mechanisms and transparency are essential.

There is a need for stringent monitoring and evaluation to ensure that funds allocated for scholarships reach the intended beneficiaries. Implementing effective checks and balances, such as independent audits, can help identify and prevent misappropriation of funds.

Additionally, establishing clear and objective criteria for eligibility, free from political influence or personal connections, is crucial to ensure fairness and equal opportunities for all deserving students.

In conclusion, corruption within the targeting process of cocoa scholarships poses a significant threat to the goal of providing quality education to deserving students from cocoa-growing communities.

Instances of misappropriation of funds and the allocation of scholarships to ineligible recipients highlight the urgent need for comprehensive reforms.

By addressing corruption through transparency, accountability, and fair criteria for eligibility, Ghana can ensure that the allocation of cocoa scholarships aligns with its objective of equal access to education, enabling the nation’s youth to realize their full potential and contribute to sustainable development.

Section 2: Corruption in the GETFund

The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) was established to provide financial resources to support educational infrastructure development, scholarships, and other educational initiatives in Ghana.

However, the targeting process within the GETFund has been plagued by corruption, compromising the intended goals and perpetuating inequality in the education sector.

One aspect of corruption within the GETFund is the mismanagement of funds allocated for educational purposes. Instances of embezzlement, diversion of funds, and fraudulent practices have been reported, undermining the effectiveness of the program.

Instead of being utilized to improve educational facilities or provide scholarships to deserving students, the funds have been siphoned off for personal gain, hindering educational development and depriving students of the resources they rightfully deserve.

Nepotism and favoritism also pervade the targeting process of the GETFund, allowing resources to be channeled towards individuals with connections or influence rather than those who are most in need.

Scholarships and educational opportunities meant for disadvantaged students are often diverted to individuals who have the right connections or are politically well-connected.

This practice undermines the principles of fairness and equal opportunity, creating a system where access to educational resources becomes a privilege rather than a right.

The consequences of corruption within the GETFund are detrimental to Ghana’s educational landscape. Firstly, the mismanagement and diversion of funds lead to inadequate infrastructure and resources in schools, hampering the learning environment for students.

Dilapidated buildings, lack of necessary equipment, and insufficient learning materials hinder the quality of education provided, exacerbating educational inequalities and perpetuating a cycle of underdevelopment.

Moreover, corruption within the GETFund hampers the provision of scholarships to deserving students who rely on financial assistance to pursue their education.

When scholarships are allocated based on personal connections or political favoritism rather than merit, deserving students from disadvantaged backgrounds are unjustly excluded, further widening the education gap.

This not only deprives students of the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also undermines social mobility and perpetuates socioeconomic inequalities.

To address corruption within the GETFund and safeguard the integrity of the targeting process, comprehensive reforms are needed. First and foremost, strong measures should be put in place to prevent embezzlement, misappropriation, and fraudulent practices.

Robust financial management systems, independent audits, and transparent reporting mechanisms can help ensure that funds are utilized for their intended educational purposes.

Additionally, merit-based criteria should be established for the allocation of scholarships and educational resources.

Transparency and equal opportunities should be the guiding principles, ensuring that scholarships are awarded to deserving students based on their academic achievements, financial needs, and potential to succeed.

Implementing a fair and objective selection process, free from political influence and personal connections, is crucial to ensure that educational resources reach those who truly need them.

Furthermore, promoting a culture of accountability and public participation can contribute to curbing corruption within the GETFund. Engaging civil society organizations, the media, and the public in monitoring and reporting corrupt practices can act as a deterrent and help identify instances of corruption.

It is essential to create an environment where transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct are valued and promoted in the management and allocation of educational resources.

In conclusion, corruption within the targeting process of the GETFund undermines the goal of providing quality education and perpetuates inequalities within the education sector in Ghana.

The mismanagement of funds and the prevalence of nepotism and favoritism hinder educational development and deprive deserving students of opportunities.

To combat corruption, comprehensive reforms that focus on financial management, merit-based criteria, and accountability are necessary.

By strengthening the integrity of the targeting process, Ghana can ensure that the GETFund fulfills its purpose of enhancing educational opportunities and fostering a brighter future for all students.

Section 3: Other Examples of Corruption in Education Programs

Corruption in education programs is not limited to cocoa scholarships and the GETFund. It is a global phenomenon that has been observed in various contexts and countries.

Examining other examples of corruption in education programs sheds light on the potential risks and challenges associated with the targeting process, emphasizing the need for vigilance and preventive measures.

One common form of corruption in education programs is nepotism and favoritism in the allocation of scholarships or educational resources. In many cases, scholarships are awarded based on personal connections or political influence, rather than the merit or financial need of the students.

This practice undermines the principles of fairness and equal opportunity, perpetuating inequality and depriving deserving students of educational support.

Fraudulent practices, such as the falsification of documents or academic qualifications, are another instance of corruption in education programs. Individuals may submit fake certificates or manipulate their academic records to gain access to scholarships or educational opportunities for which they are ineligible.

These fraudulent acts distort the targeting process, diverting resources away from deserving students who genuinely require assistance.

Political interference in the targeting process is another significant concern. In some cases, education programs are manipulated to cater to the interests of politicians or their supporters. Scholarships, grants, or other resources may be allocated to individuals or institutions based on their political affiliations rather than the actual educational needs of the population.

This compromises the fairness and integrity of the targeting process, perpetuating a system of patronage and favoritism.

Additionally, corruption can occur through the embezzlement or misappropriation of funds earmarked for education programs. Funds intended to improve infrastructure, provide scholarships, or enhance the quality of education may be diverted for personal gain.

This results in inadequate resources and facilities, compromising the educational experience for students and hindering their academic development.

International examples of corruption in education programs further emphasize the global nature of this issue. Instances of corruption have been reported in various countries, such as the embezzlement of education funds in Nigeria, the manipulation of scholarship programs in Pakistan, and the fraudulent practices in admission processes in several countries.

These cases highlight the pervasive nature of corruption and its potential to undermine educational systems and hinder educational opportunities for disadvantaged students.

To combat corruption in education programs, a comprehensive approach is necessary. Transparency and accountability must be embedded in the targeting process, with clear criteria and mechanisms for the selection of beneficiaries.

Independent audits and oversight bodies can help monitor the allocation of resources and prevent mismanagement or diversion of funds. Additionally, promoting a culture of integrity, where ethical conduct is valued and rewarded, can contribute to reducing corrupt practices in education programs.

Public participation and engagement play a vital role in combating corruption. Encouraging the involvement of civil society organizations, students, parents, and the wider community in monitoring and reporting corrupt activities can act as a check on the system.

Whistleblower protection and reporting mechanisms should be established to ensure that individuals can come forward with information on corruption without fear of retribution.

In conclusion, corruption in education programs extends beyond specific cases such as cocoa scholarships and the GETFund. Nepotism, fraudulent practices, political interference, and misappropriation of funds are prevalent challenges in targeting mechanisms worldwide.

By learning from international examples and adopting comprehensive strategies that emphasize transparency, accountability, and public participation, countries can mitigate the risks associated with corruption in education programs.

Ensuring a fair and equitable targeting process is essential to provide quality education to all students, promote social mobility, and foster sustainable development.

Section 4: Safeguarding the Targeting Process of the Free SHS Program

Given the risks and challenges associated with corruption in education programs, it is sufficiently important to take proactive measures to safeguard any targeting process of the Free SHS program in Ghana.

By addressing these concerns and implementing effective strategies, the government can ensure that the program achieves its goal of providing equal educational opportunities to all Ghanaian students.

  1. Transparency and Accountability

Transparency should be a cornerstone of the targeting process. Clear guidelines and criteria for eligibility should be established and made publicly available. The selection process, including the evaluation and verification of applications, should be transparent and open to scrutiny.

Regular reporting on the allocation of resources and scholarships should be provided to ensure accountability and foster public trust in the program.

  1. Robust Monitoring and Evaluation

Implementing a robust system for monitoring and evaluation is essential to identify and address any irregularities or corrupt practices. Independent audits should be conducted to assess the effectiveness of the targeting process and ensure that resources are reaching the intended beneficiaries.

Continuous monitoring can help detect and prevent manipulation, misrepresentation, or favoritism in the allocation of scholarships and resources.

  1. Stakeholder Engagement:

Engaging relevant stakeholders, such as civil society organizations, parents, students, and local communities, can contribute to the integrity of the targeting process.

Their involvement in oversight committees or advisory boards can provide an additional layer of accountability and help identify and address corruption risks.

Consultation with stakeholders can also ensure that the targeting process is responsive to the needs and aspirations of the communities it serves.

  1. Professionalism and Training

Investing in the capacity building and professional development of the personnel responsible for the targeting process is crucial. Training programs should be implemented to enhance their understanding of ethical standards, conflict of interest, and the importance of maintaining the integrity of the program.

By equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge, the government can mitigate the risks of corruption and ensure a fair and objective targeting process.

  1. Whistleblower Protection

Establishing mechanisms to protect whistleblowers who report corruption or irregularities within the targeting process is essential. Confidential reporting channels should be made available to encourage individuals to come forward with information on corrupt practices.

Protecting those who expose corruption ensures a safe environment for reporting and helps uncover instances of manipulation or misrepresentation.

  1. Public Awareness and Education

Raising public awareness about the importance of a fair targeting process and the detrimental impact of corruption is crucial. Public education campaigns can inform communities, students, and parents about their rights, the eligibility criteria, and the procedures for reporting corruption.

By empowering individuals with knowledge, they become active participants in safeguarding the integrity of the program.

  1. Strong Legal Framework

Enacting and enforcing robust legislation to combat corruption is essential. Laws should be in place to prosecute and punish individuals involved in corrupt practices related to the targeting process of the Free SHS program.

The legal framework should include provisions for confiscating assets acquired through corrupt means, ensuring that there are tangible consequences for engaging in corrupt activities.

By implementing these measures, the government can fortify the targeting process of the Free SHS program against manipulation, misrepresentation, and corruption. Safeguarding the integrity of the program not only ensures that educational resources reach the deserving students but also fosters trust, inclusivity, and social cohesion.

The Free SHS program has the potential to transform the educational landscape in Ghana, and by proactively addressing corruption risks, the government can ensure that its benefits are truly realized by those who need them the most.


Corruption in the targeting process of educational programs poses a significant threat to the principles of fairness, equal opportunity, and socioeconomic development.

In the case of cocoa scholarships, the GETFund, and other examples worldwide, instances of manipulation, misrepresentation, embezzlement, and favoritism have undermined the intended goals of these programs and perpetuated inequality in the education sector.

To address these challenges, it is sufficiently important for the government to take proactive measures to safeguard the targeting process of the Free SHS program in Ghana.

Transparency, accountability, robust monitoring and evaluation, stakeholder engagement, professionalism, whistleblower protection, public awareness and education, and a strong legal framework are vital elements in combating corruption.

By implementing these measures, the government can ensure that the Free SHS program provides equal educational opportunities to all Ghanaian students. A transparent and accountable targeting process, free from corrupt practices, will promote fairness, integrity, and trust in the program.

Students from all backgrounds will have access to quality education, empowering them to fulfill their potential, contribute to the development of their communities, and break the cycle of poverty.

It is essential for the government to remain vigilant and committed to combating corruption throughout the implementation of the Free SHS program. Regular monitoring, evaluation, and adjustments to the targeting process will be necessary to address emerging challenges and maintain the program’s integrity.

By prioritizing the fight against corruption and ensuring a fair targeting process, Ghana can pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable education system. The benefits will extend beyond individual students to the society as a whole, fostering social mobility, reducing inequalities, and fostering sustainable development.

It is time to recognize corruption in education programs as a serious issue and take concerted efforts to prevent and address it. The future of Ghana depends on a robust, transparent, and accountable education system that provides equal opportunities to all students. By doing so, Ghana can create a brighter future for its citizens and contribute to building a just and prosperous society.

By Gilbert Addah



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here