A total of 2,835 graduates from the Niger Delta region, have successfully participated in the computer-based test for the foreign scholarship of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for 2018.
Over 4,000 graduates from the region had applied for the annual post-graduate scheme, where those who qualified participated in the aptitude tests.
Speaking at the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centre of the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt venue of the aptitude test, the director, Education, Health and Social Services, Mr Goshua Okejoto, explained that the choice of electronic examination was to enable the Commission shortlist the right candidates to be selected for the scholarship scheme.
Okejoto stated that the Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship, which was started in 2010, was meant to equip Niger Delta graduates with relevant training and skills for effective participation in the local content programme of the Federal Government.
He explained that only candidates who had finished the National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC) scheme and secured admission into foreign universities were eligible to participate in the scholarship award process.
Okejoto said that after the aptitude test, 1,500 candidates would be selected for oral interview. He noted: “The process is very transparent as the candidates see their scores immediately after the test. That is the beauty of the computer-based test.”
According to him, the scholarship programme was designed to encourage excellence and debunk the myth that the Niger Delta was the bedrock of militancy. “The NDDC is using the programme to showcase the best of the Niger Delta and this has been justified by the academic performance of previous beneficiaries,” he said.
Okejoto said that the managing director of NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, is committed to the success of the programme and has directed that the process should be completed by September 21, 2018 with the presentation of award letters to the successful candidates.
He added: “The MD is very passionate about the programme because he wants the NDDC to continue to build the capacity of graduates from the Niger Delta region.”
He said that some new programmes had been added to the scholarship scheme to help universities in the Niger Delta to engage high calibre staff. This, he said, necessitated the introduction of awards in education in addition to studies in management which was added in 2017.
In his remarks, the consultant for the scholarship programme, Mr Godson Ideozu, stressed that computer-based examination encourages transparency because “candidates get to see their scores immediately after writing the examination.”
He observed that the candidates, comprising those for Masters and Doctorate degrees, were examined primarily in their core areas of study, noting that the exercise was not only fair but gave the applicants equal opportunity to compete.