By Funmilayo Adeyemi
Abuja, Feb. 3, 2021 No fewer than 30,000 Nigerians have benefited from the Commonwealth Scholarship awards since its inception in 1959, according to Malam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education.
Adamu made this known at the launch of 2021/2022 Nomination Interview of Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) in Abuja on Tuesday.
The minister was represented by Mr Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary of the ministry.
He said that majority of the award holders had returned home to make significant contributions to the development of Nigeria, mostly in the tertiary institutions.
He said that the idea behind the scholarship was to make scholars acquire the requisite knowledge and skills, and return to their home to make meaningful impact in their various fields of study.
“Education is critical to the achievement of the present administration’s transformation agenda, which is expected to accelerate economic growth, engender social change, create a stable polity and improve on the quality of life of the Nigerians.
“This can only come to fruition through human capital development.
“Consequently, the education sector has been saddled with the responsibility of propelling our country to the realisation of her development goals so as to become one of the top economies of the world and improve access to tertiary education.
“I have no doubt that all candidates in this nomination interview have done research on Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), its mission, vision and guidelines among others,’’ Adamu said.
The minister noted that applications had been limited to PhD candidates, based on instructions from the CSC.
He added that applications would be graded based on academic merit, quality of research proposal and development impact on completion of the study as PhD candidates.
Speaking, Hajiya Ndajiwo Asta, Director, Federal Scholarship Board said that the emergence of the challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic, candidates for 2020 were advised to defer their scholarship to 2021.
Asta explained that last year, there were 336 offers made to the 54 commonwealth countries with an average of six candidate per country.
She also said that 4,424 candidates applied through the Electronic Application System (EAS), adding that Nigeria received 24 awards, due to high quality of candidates presented.
“The awards are very limited in number compared with the large number of applications received each year.
“This year, approximately 350 candidates applied through the EAS.
“The value of the award per awardee depends on field of specialisation 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,’’ she said.