By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
THE Borno State Government and Ahfad University for Women (AUW) in Sudan; are to offer scholarships to 100 girls to pursue their degree programmes in various disciplines, including medicine and sciences. The students are to be drawn from the state’s 27 councils by the Borno State Ministry of Higher Education. This was disclosed yesterday in Maiduguri in a statement from Senior Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Isa Umar Gusau. He said the scholarships followed an agreement reached between Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State and President of AUW, Prof. Gasim Badri, when the governor led a delegation to the university in Khartoum, Sudan on Thursday.
The governor, according to the statement, demanded for more slots of female citizens of Borno State to pursue their various degree programmes at the Sudanese university. The statement reads in part: “The educational institution which is the longest serving private University in Sudan has been in existence in the last 50 years in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.
The university belongs to a family with a generation of educational scholars in Sudan, and is a nonprofit institution which has been awarding scholarships to female citizens from over 20 countries. “The Sudanese University has its roots traced to a private Elementary School for Girls established in 1907 before it became a College for Women in 1966 while in 1995 the Sudan National Council for Higher. Education granted full University status to the institution making Ahfad University for Women (AUW) not only the oldest and largest private university in Sudan but also the only private female university in Africa.”
Gusau explained that after persuasions by Governor Kashim Shettima, highlighting challenges faced by Borno State as a result of the negative impacts of the Boko Haram insurgency with adverse effects on educational sector, Shettima and Prof. Badri agreed that 100 female citizens of Borno State are to be admitted into the school in the next academic session on 50-50 scholarship basis. Prof. Badri therefore announced the award of scholarship to 50 female citizens of Borno State to pursue different degree courses while Shettima announced that the Borno State Government will sponsor another 50 women to pursue degrees in medicine at the university.
Shettima said he has bias for female education because women in Borno State have been relegated for many years in terms of education. “If you educate a woman, you educate a nation,” said the Governor in the statement. He also said that the Ministry of Higher Education, led by Alhaji Usman Jaha, who was in the delegation will ensure that all 27 councils and multi religious and ethnic groups in the state are fairly represented in selection of 100 female candidates for admission into the university.
“When the students are admitted into this Women University, they will add to the existing 60 women currently studying medicine in two other universities in Khartoum, Sudan, under the Borno State government scholarship scheme,” said Gusau. He said the offer of scholarships to female candidates was to lay an educational foundation for another era of massive human capacity development of female citizens in Borno State.