Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty-Seven (3237) shortlisted candidates who applied for the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) In-country Scholarship Scheme (ISS) are presently participating in an oral interview exercise being conducted by experts from the academia and the oil and gas industry to access candidate’s eligibility for a possible recommendation for the award of the scholarship for the 2021/2022 academic session in Federal Universities across the country.
Head, In-country Scholarship Division, PTDF, Ms Violet Ogbomo who flagged off the commencement of the exercise in Abuja, revealed that the exercise which commenced on Tuesday the 14th of June 2022, will run simultaneously in six centres across the six geo-political zones of the country. She said although all candidates were given the opportunity to select where they would like to conduct the interview, including virtual platform options, the Fund for ease of convenience designated Universities of Ibadan, Port-Harcourt, Bauchi, University of Nigeria, and Bayero University, Kano for candidates from the South-West, South-South, North East, North West and South-East candidates while the PTDF Headquarters in Abuja will host candidates from the North-Central region.
Ms Ogbomo also stated that the Fund used a broad-based system to select very experienced members of the central selection committee from both the oil and gas industry and the academia. The panelists according to her are mandated to interview and assess the candidates based on the scoring template provided by the Fund. Among the criteria to be used in the selection of candidates include the quality of research proposals for the PhD candidates, Statement of purpose for the MSc candidates, knowledge of the subject matter, its relevance to the oil and gas industry and other criteria set for the five-day exercise.
The areas of study include, but not limited to Engineering and Renewable Energy, Computing and Geosciences, Environmental and Management as well as other related disciplines that are relevant to the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
Further breakdown of the candidates shows that 2885 were shortlisted for MsC while 352 were to be interviewed for PhD awards. The exercise is an annual programme organized by the Fund for the award of the Scholarship to deserving Nigerians to study in federal universities across the country in both MSc and PhD categories.
The increased interest in the PTDF In-country Scholarship Scheme (ISS) is in line with the domestication policy introduced by the Executive Secretary, PTDF, Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau which aimed at scaling down numbers of the Oversea Scholarship award to re-direct traffic to Nigerian universities especially those whose oil and gas departments were standardized and upgraded by the PTDF.
Executive Secretary, PTDF, Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau has repeatedly said that the Overseas Scholarship Scheme(OSS) which is designed as a stop-gap measure has succeeded in producing a number of quality trained lecturers that can impact what they have learned in their universities. “if you realized a large number of the beneficiaries especially at the higher level for the PhDs are university lecturers, so we see it as some kind of train the trainer programme whereby we build capacity for people who will come home and also continue with the process of building capacity. We have done that for the last few years and the numbers are quite large. We believe that we have reached a point of comfort. In as much as we are not going to jettison the OSS programme, but the traffic will have to change going forward, we are going to focus on more and more attention in Nigerian universities”
Some of the candidates interviewed by PTDF Digest commended the PTDF for providing the In-country Scholarship opportunity to Nigerian youths which they said will not only ease their financial difficulties but equally boost more confidence in the Nigerian university system and help the students in getting the quality of certificates they so desired in-country.
Cynthia Odili, an Environmental Engineering PhD Candidate from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria expresses confidence in the Nigerian university educational system which she said made them prepared to compete with any other students anywhere in the world. “I believe our Nigerian universities are equally as good as other universities, we have a conducive learning environment and have lecturers that are knowledgeable”.
Jibril Jidda, a Master’s graduate of Energy generation from the University of Glasgow left the Overseas to come to Nigeria to seek the PTDF In-country scholarship because he believes it’s the best choice to fund his PhD research. “I believe with a system like PTDF if they keep up with the help they are giving to students and investing in universities, even Nigeria will become better because they are helping students to learn”.