Madam Virginia Palmer, United States (US) Ambassador to Ghana, has reassured prospective students applying for visas of appointments on time before classes begin.
She said the Embassy was ‘‘bending over backwards’’ to ensure that students got to the United States before the start of class to enable them have interviews in time if they were issued a visa.
Madam Palmer gave the assurance at the opening of the 2022 EducationUSA College Fair in Accra for universities and colleges from the United States to interact with prospective students in Ghana.
The Fair brought together about 40 representatives of universities and colleges from the United States to interact with prospective Ghanaian students.
The Ambassador urged students to apply on time and not to be deterred by the appointment times given by the Embassy.
‘‘I hope you’ll enjoy the opportunity to explore the educational opportunities offered in the US, the bridges that are built during studies in the US… when American students come to Ghana they build lifelong bridges that benefits the bilateral relationship for years to come,’’ she stated.
Madam Palmer encouraged people who needed to travel to the US to apply, and ask for expedited appointments as well, and utilise the interview waiver programme to renew their expired visas.
She said: ‘‘So if you already had a visa, but your visa has expired, you don’t need to come back to the Embassy, you can just send it to us by mail, and those renewals are very straightforward.’’
‘‘…And in terms of the backlog overall, because I know there is a lot of interest in that. I have taken every officer with a Consular commission and put them to work on the visa line, and the Consular Section has opened up lots of appointments for more non-immigrant visas,’’ she said
Mr John Ntim Fordjour, Deputy Minister of Education, said the interest of the US universities in Ghana was an indication of their confidence in the country’s education system.
He said the country’s education system produced people who furthered their education in the United States, and returned to support the building of the nation, adding that, historically, Ghana and the United States had a relationship bonded around many things, including education.
‘‘As we speak, we have many partnerships going on between Ghanaian higher institutions of learning, specifically Ghanaian universities, and some universities in the United States. We send lecturers, they also send lecturers, they exchange research ideas,’’ he said.
Mr Fordjour stated that the Ministry of Education was exploring and facilitating some technical cooperation between the country’s universities and some notable universities in the United States to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
‘’We must collaborate our skills and faculties to be able to solve some of the complex challenges the world faces today,’’
The collaborations, he said, would strengthen and promote some institutions and Ministry arrangements to ensure the harnessing of best talents and brains from academia to research to ensure that certain improvements were seen.
EducationUSA is a US Government sponsored network of 450 centres in 170 countries around the globe.
It is mandated to provide comprehensive, current, accurate and impartial information on US higher education and guide qualified individuals in order to be successful applicants to accredited US colleges and universities.
Ghana currently has two EducationUSA Centers at the US Embassy in Accra and at ACE Consult in Asokwa, Kumasi.
EducationUSA Advisors, who work with students individually and in groups, in-person and virtually to enhance understanding of the college or university application process to be successful applicants, have helped thousands of Ghanaian students to apply to hundreds of accredited institutions of higher learning.