In its bid to tackle some of the challenges in the education sector, the federal government, through the tertiary education trust fund has made available the whooping sum of 560,000,000 million naira for foreign scholarships in order to give Nigerian students an opportunity to study abroad.
The minister of education, Prof Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i who presented a speech during the orientation ceremony for scholars departing to Bilateral Educational Agreements countries, said ‘in 1999, scholarship award scheme was revitalized in the federal government’s effort to develop the manpower of its citizens’.
The minister disclosed that the donor countries are to pay tuition, accommodation fees and little stipends while the federal government on its part pays the following:
supplementation allowances of $6,000 per annum to augment feeding, local transport, maintenance, equipment/books; warm clothing allowances of $250 per annum; health insurance at $200 per annum; take-off grant of N60,000 once before departure for undergraduates and take-off grant of N100,000 one before departure for post-graduates while medical scholar allowances of $500 per annum will be given to students studying medicine.
As at 2010, there was a total number of 460 scholars in various BEA countries studying in different fields, which include among others, Medicine, Oil and Gas Engineering, Geology, Aeronautic Engineering, Communication and Humanities. Also, under the commonwealth of fellowship plan which she revealed is mainly for post graduate studies, a total of 252 awards were made by commonwealth scholarship commission to 54 commonwealth countries.
She said for the purpose of scholarship exchange of scholars, research and fellowship plans, Nigeria has Bilateral Educational Agreements with 13 countries namely: China, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Ukraine, Russia, Greece, Cuba, Czech Republic, Serbia, Poland, Macedonia, and Romania.
She said despite the global economic meltdown, donor countries have continued to make offers to Nigerians.
Already, 152 offers of scholarship has been made for the 2011/2012 academic session and similarly, Nigeria has in the same period made 19 reciprocal awards and they are: 1 Romania,6 china and 12 sierra Leonean scholars while that of Poland and Macedonia are been awaited.
The director of the federal scholarship board, Hajiya Hindatu Abdullahi, in her speech, congratulated the students for their performance which she said was rigorous. She revealed that the procedure included that candidates must have distinction in at least five related subjects including mathematics and English and ‘this will be followed by selection through interview after the advertisement and completion of forms on-line.’
‘The examination is set and marked by JAMB after which the inter-ministerial committee sits to consider the results and come up with the nomination list.’ While the final selections of the scholarship awardees are made by the donor countries.