By Michael Eboh
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, has stated that it has not cancelled or intends to stop its overseas scholarship scheme.
The PTDF, in a statement by its Head, Press and External Relations , Mr. Kalu Otisi, stated that its decision not to cancel the scheme was in view of its continued relevance in building a crop of well-trained Nigerian professionals to effectively manage the critical sectors of the oil and gas industry as well as the academia.
According to Otisi, the intention of PTDF in reviewing the operations of the scheme through its training domestication drive is to increase the involvement of local universities whose facilities and faculties have over the years been massively upgraded by the Fund.
He stated that the Federal Government has invested huge resources through the PTDF in upgrading 26 departments involved in teaching oil and gas related courses in 26 universities, with world class facilities that put them at par with their contemporaries abroad.
He said, “These upgraded universities, some of which have become Centres of Excellence in the teaching and research of specific oil and gas disciplines, are already being used for the training of PTDF scholars at undergraduate and post-graduate levels under the Local Scholarship Scheme of the Fund.
“Part of the domestication policy of PTDF scholarship scheme is to gradually reduce foreign training of our scholars and build up in-country training facilities towards self-sufficiency in oil and gas capacity-building.
“We must emphasize, however, that this new thinking and direction does not in any way translate to a cancellation, stoppage or withdrawal of the overseas segment of our scholarship programme. Qualified Nigerians will continue to be sponsored abroad for training especially in critical subject areas in the oil and gas industry that we currently lack enough capacity for in Nigeria.
“The other limb of the domestication approach is to encourage foreign universities where Nigerian scholars are regularly sent for their Masters and PhD studies to set up branches or campuses of their institutions in Nigeria or go into partnership with the upgraded Nigerian universities for split PhD programmes, whereby aspects of the training and research will be conducted both in Nigeria and abroad. “