By Joseph Erunke
THE federal government, Tuesday,said a total of 30,000 scholars in the country have so far benefited from the Commonwealth Scholarship between 1959 and now.
Majority of the beneficiaries, according to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu,who disclosed this, made significant contributions to Nigeria’s development.
The minister spoke at the opening ceremony of the 2021/2022 nomination Interview for Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowship Plan,CSFP, in Abuja.
Speaking through his representative and Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Arc. Sonny Echono, Adamu noted that the award of scholarship would be strictly guided by the criteria set by the Commission with high priority to relevance to national development.
While noting that education remains critical to accelerating economic growth, engender social change, create a stable polity and improve on the quality of life of the Nigerian citizenry, he said these could only come to fruition through human capital development.
He said: “Applications shall be graded based on Academic Merit, Quality of Research Proposal and Development Impact on completion of the study as PhD candidates. However, it is imperative to state that, the CSC’s Selection criteria give high priority to applicants that demonstrate the strongest relevance to national development.
“It is worth mentioning that since the inception of the Commonwealth Scholarship Award in 1959, more than 30,000 scholars have benefited and majority of the award holders from Nigeria have returned to make significant contributions to the development of the nation, mostly in the tertiary institutions.
“To this end, the Commission’s mandatory regulation for scholars is to acquire the requisite knowledge as well as skills, and return to their respective home countries at the end of the award period to make meaningful impact in their various fields of study to achieve multiplier effect. It is in the realization of this objective, that the CSC adopted a scholarship policy aimed at ensuring greater and equitable access to higher education by a greater number of qualified citizens of the Commonwealth member nations.”
He added that, “the education sector has been saddled with the responsibility of propelling our country to the realization of her development goals so as to become one of the top economies of the world, and the improved access to quality education is, no doubt, critical to the attainment of our national goals and global competiveness.”
The director Federal Scholarship Board (FSP), Ndajiwo Hammanjoda Asta who disclosed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic some candidates in 2020 were asked to defer their scholarship to 2021, said only PhD candidates would this year be nominated except otherwise decided by the commission.
“This year, due to the challenges caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic, some selected candidates for last year were advised to defer their scholarship to commence in 2021. Hence this year, we have been asked to nominate only a specific number for PhD, but no Masters candidates, though not a permanent decision by the Commission.
“It is important to inform you that the awards are very limited in number
compared with the large number of applications received each year. This year,
approximately three hundred and fifty (350) candidates applied through the lectronic Application System (EAS).
“The value of the award per awardee depends on field of specialization and it is adjudged to be sufficient, with provision to spouses if indicated, thus makes the award scheme the most competitive and prestigious in the world.”
According to her, out of the 336 offers made to 54 Commonwealth countries with an average of six per country, Nigeria received 24 awards due to the high quality of candidates presented, out of the 4,424 candidates who applied through the Electronics Application System (EAS).