Jonathan “Why we initiated the New Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme- Nigeria”
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday gave an insight into why his administration initiated the postgraduate scholarship scheme for Nigerians.
He said apart from building the capacities of the beneficiaries, the programme was designed to raise the standard of teaching in the country’s universities.
Jonathan said from the reports presented to the Federal Government, less than 60 per cent of lecturers in the nation’s universities had PhDs, adding that his administration had already extended the scheme to 400 graduates in the country.
The President explained that the policy was designed to arrest the poor standard of education, create and enhance proper human capital development.
Jonathan, who was in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, yesterday on a private visit to meet 100 beneficiaries of a scholarship programme he initiated as governor of the state in 2006, said the human capital development policy of his administration had been replicated by successive governments in the state, including that of the incumbent Governor Seriake Dickson.
He said though the decisions of his administration both as a governor and President were criticised, the current policy, targeted at increasing the percentage of university lecturers lacking the basic requisite to upgrade studies at the university level, would be vigorously pursued.
At the event, Dickson said his commitment to building human capital is unwavering and that over 200 pupils are expected to benefit from the state scholarship scheme tagged: “Bayelsa Restoration Scholarship Scheme” with 50 pupils selected from other states in the Niger Delta region.
Dickson said: “We are of the belief that it is in vain building structures and roads without building sound minds. We have decided to sustain the improvement of our human capital base because we cannot afford to play with the future of our children. We have watched our society sit on keg of gun-powder due to lack of human capital development. Because of lack of human capital development and genuine role models, our children have considered those armed with AK-47 as role models.”
Jonathan cautioned the state against partisanship in the award of scholarships to its indigenes and other Nigerians in the South-South geo-political zone.
The President particularly advised Dickson not to allow his commissioners or political appointees to influence the process of selecting the next set of beneficiaries for the scheme, which he initiated as governor of the state.
He said it was through a transparent approach that the state could get the best from the society and realise the objective of the scheme.
President Jonathan commended the 100 students who were admitted into some of the best secondary schools in the country for their outstanding performances and paid tribute to his predecessor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who started the first educational scholarship scheme in the state.
The pupils graduated from the Nigeria-Turkish International School Abuja, Bell International School, Ota in Ogun State, Bell and Vale Collage, Ibadan in Oyo State.
Mr. Bright Abel Yohan, president of the Association of Parents of Pupils of Goodluck Jonathan Scholarship, said: “We have been waiting for the opportunity to say thank you to President Jonathan.”