The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has awarded 92 scholarships for Masters and Doctorate degrees in relevant areas of ICT and ICT Law for the 2017/18 Scholarship Year as part of its activities in developing critical manpower in the ICT sector of the country.
The scholarship scheme was established in 2010 with the aim of bridging the digital divide through human capital development with emphasis on creating and supporting a knowledge-based economy. Two scholars are selected per state, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at master’s level and one scholar per geo-political zone of the country at doctorate level.
Speaking on the selection process, NITDA’s director of human resource and administration department, Dr Mohammed Idris Yelwa, said a total of 5,504 candidates applied out of which 2,188 sat for the computer-based aptitude test, saying the final interview is designed to assess candidates’ academic merit and exceptional character traits that will enable them maintain highest level ethical values, discipline, dedication to studies and be worthy ambassadors of the country – an innovative extension of the selection process introduced by the director-general of NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Pantami to enhance the scheme’s credibility.
Dr Yelwa further revealed that each scholar studying abroad receives an average package of N17.5 million per annum comprising tuition fees, personal allowance to cover accommodation, living expenses and other allowances while in-country scholars receive an average of N3.5 million and about N752.5 million is spent annually on the scheme.
In a statement that was issued by the agency’s head of corporate affairs and external relations unit, Mrs. Hadiza Umar said the agency has successfully sponsored 341 Nigerian Graduates in various ICT fields at Masters level and 42 for doctorate level at universities in the UK, USA, Canada, Germany and Australia.
since the inception of the scheme to date, adding that a number of beneficiaries of the scheme are now in full employment while others have set up viable IT business ventures that are providing employment opportunities as well as developing globally competitive products and services, thereby making valuable contribution to the Nigerian economy.
“We are encouraged by President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustainable human capital development for economic recovery and growth as well as the exemplary leadership of Dr Pantami in ensuring that scheme is sustained and entitlements of NITDEF scholars are paid regularly, despite the challenges of recession,” it added.