By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Director General of the National University Commission, Professor Julius Okogie has said that only massive investment by the country in science andÂ technology will guarantee the realization of Vision 20-2020.
Professor Okogie stated thisÂ during the formal presentation of the MTN Foundation science and technology scholarship awards to successful candidates at University of Lagos.
The NUC boss who frown at the poor utilization of next generation in the country said Nigeria and indeed Africa were already disadvantaged from the level of development attained by developed nations of the world and called on government, co-operate organizations to tow the line of MTN in investing massively in the area of science and technology.
â€œWe are not using next generation technology, and every university ought to have digital library because we have very poor reading culture. MTN is doing this because it is a responsible entity. I hope that thisÂ momentum will be sustained by MTN and encourage others to do same.
In his address, Director, MTN Foundation, Mr. Okoro said the idea behind the award presentation onÂ training Nigerian students on science and technology was informed by the desireÂ to help Nigeria advanced economically through the adoption and application of information and communicationÂ technology. In enabling more Nigerians acquire the critical skills of technology, he said MTN will be contributing to efforts to leapfroggingÂ the country to the part of economic growth and development.
â€œLast year, the MTN Foundation decided to commence a scholarship scheme to enable brilliant but indigent students to acquire university education and ultimately realize their dreams. The Foundation decided to use the scholarship scheme to rekindle the waning interest of our children in science and technology.
â€œAcross the world, it has since become firmly established that information and communications technology (ICT) has a direct correlation to economic growth and development. Indeed, it is not coincidence that the worldâ€™s most economically advanced societies today, are those societies that have advanced the most in the adoption and application of ICT,â€ he stated.
This according to him, underscores the MTNâ€™s commitment to contributing to the national efforts to enhance the adoption of ICT in every area of the economy.
It will be recalled that late last year, MTN published a public notice in the media requesting interested students who met the criteria forÂ the scholarship to apply, in which thousands of them in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education indicated interest.
Out of the 500 that scaled through the selection process, 252 scholarships were awarded to medical students; 132 to engineering students; 48 to computer science students, while the rest went to other students of mathematics, physics, agriculture, dentistry and other areas of specialization.
The MTN Foundation science and technology scholarship scheme is aimed at providing academic scholarships valued at N200,000 annually toÂ the 500 students on full-time studying courses in the area of science and technology in accredited educational institutions across the six geo-political zones of the country. The awardÂ is being given tosecond year students in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education with CGPA score of 3.5 or its equivalent and above to cover tuition and book allowances for one academic year.
One of the beneficiaries, Ms Bankole Taiwo, a 300-level Agriculture Economics undergraduate of University of Ibadan said â€œIâ€™m happy and grateful to MTN, because it is doing a good job to encourage us to study hard. I did not expect to be one of the beneficiaries, now Iâ€™m one of them, it will spur me to study harder. At least, I can now buy a lap top of my own. To Taiwo, the MTN award scheme is a wake up call to all indigent students who do not have the financial muscle to further their education.
Another beneficiary, Emmanuel Alayinde, a threeÂ hundred student of Oyo College of education who could not express her joy expressed gratitude to MTN for the initiative. According to her, the award came at the right time in her education career and will prepare her to always aim high in all her endeavour.
Highlight of the event was presentation of N200,000 cheques and certificates to 252 students studying in various institutions of learning across the Western part of the country by the Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Adedokun Sofoluwe.