The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has paid over N2 billion to settle outstanding stipends and fees for its scholars under the Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship Programme.
Acting Managing Director, Prof Nelson Brambaifa, was speaking to reporters when he visited the candidates writing the Commission’s computer-based tests at the Rivers State University, ICT Centre, as part of an on the spot assessment of the scholarship process.
Altogether 3,112 candidates, selected from over 5,000 who applied for the Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarship are taking part in the 2019 programme.
Prof Brambaifa explained that the payment for the NDDC scholars followed the resolution of issues with the Central Bank of Nigeria which had delayed the remittance of the funds to the universities.
He said the programme, which was introduced in 2010, was meant to equip graduates of Niger-Delta origin with the relevant training and skills, stating that it was critical to capacity building and improving educational standards in the region.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer recalled that he recently led a delegation which included the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Dr Chris Amadi, on a five-day working visit to some universities in the United Kingdom.
Brambaifa said the visit afforded the NDDC team an opportunity to deepen the existing relationships with the foreign universities and take advantage of other mutually beneficial programmes.
In his remarks, the consultant for the scholarship programme, Mr Godson Ideozu, stated that computer-based examination encouraged transparency because “candidates get to see their scores immediately after writing the examination.”
He observed that the candidates, comprising those for Masters’ and Doctorate degrees, were examined primarily in their core area of study, noting that the exercise was not only fair, but gave the applicants equal opportunity to compete.
The NDDC Assistant Director, Education, Health and Social Services, EHSS, Mrs. Seledi Thompson Wakama, explained that the scholarship scheme was part of NDDC’s human resource development initiatives.
She said that after the aptitude test, successful candidates would be selected for oral interviews where about 200 candidates would emerge as the beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme. She stressed that “the process is very transparent as the candidates see their scores immediately after the test.”