The president of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan recently (on Thursday 24 May 2012) inaugurated a special postgraduate scholarship scheme in Science, Engineering and Economic related fields for Nigerian university graduates with a first class degree. 100 successful graduates will be sent to acquire their masters degree in top 25 Universities in the world to prepare them for the role of transforming Nigeria in future. The President said the initiative, which he conceived while as Governor, was aimed at building human resources for sustainable development and national transformation.
Inaugurating a 10-man steering committee for the take off of the scheme, at the State House, Abuja, Jonathan decried the dearth of qualified academic staff in the tertiary institutions.
60 per cent of lecturers in the 124 universities across the country had no Doctorate Degree
According to the president;
“The information I got from the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) is that about 60 per cent of our academic staff in our universities don’t have PhD. That is quite embarrassing, I belief the Professors here will also feel bad. ‘’We have 124 universities, Federal, States and private and that is not good enough. “I will set up an inter-ministerial department to work with some of you in the academics to come up with policies for robust training so that young men and women who are interested in academics could go anywhere in the world, that over the years we must bridge that gap.’’
We are starting with 100 First class graduate Scholarships because…
According to the president, the committee would commence the programme by selecting 100 beneficiaries on merit for postgraduate scholarship in science and engineering courses in the best institutions in the world.
“Every year, we should tap from among our best brains, selecting our best brains. We are starting with 100 because we have not made adequate arrangement for funding but the number will increase when we make budgetary allocation for it in 2013. “We select our best brain in the area of science, engineering and some areas of economics and expose them to the best facilities available in the world. “The ministry of education and this committee will have to travel to these universities to negotiate for positions in the top 25 universities in the world. “The idea is, for you to benefit you must have a first class. It is based purely on merit, no quota. We are giving opportunity for best brains.’’
Beneficiaries must serve the country for 5years after scholarship
We are going to spend money, so, we need to tap a little of what they get, so in the first five years, they should work as lecturers or researchers.
He said the beneficiaries of the scheme would, on completion of their studies, be mandated to work for the country for a period of five years as lecturers or researchers before they could be allowed to go in to their chosen careers.
Jonathan tasked members of the committee to ensure transparency and merit in the choice of the prospective candidates.
Members of the Committee
The committee’s Chairman, Prof Julius Okojie
Other members of the committee include the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, Dr Jamaila Shuara and Mrs Iddatu Abdullahi of the Federal Schorlarship Board. The rest are Professors Musa Alabe, Mohammed Sule , Mohammed Onogu, Olurotimi Tayo, William Okowa and Ikenna Onyibe. The Deputy Director, Tertiary Education in the Federal Ministry of Education, will serve as Secretary.
“This idea is for our best brains to form the core of human resources that would drive the sustainable transition for this country.
Information on how to participate in the federal government first class graduate scholarship will be made available to the public soon.