Dr. Aliyu Gusau, the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), on Monday said 201 students were successful for the 2018/2019 Overseas Scholarship.
Speaking during the induction ceremony for the students, Gusau, said all the successful students made it on their own merit, adding that they passed through very rigorous tests to be finally selected.
He urged the students to be mindful of the fact that they are going to acquire skills and expertise, which they shall, used in further developing the country in future.
According to him, unlike in the past when students are restricted to Europe, the 2018/2019 session will be distributed in three countries including Germany, France and China.
“For this particular set, we have about 124 MSc students and 77 others going for PhD and they are going to universities in the three different countries, which include Germany, China and France. Other sets are coming later in the month. They are going there for a purpose and must be good ambassadors of this country wherever they find themselves.
“The selection was very rigorous and objective, to the extent that hitherto we subjected students to just a one-hour aptitude test, but we thought that is not a good measure to determine their capacities. So what we now do is that we start right from the onset to find out the quality of degree you have after spending four years in the university.
“If you have a first class, you are going to earn more than somebody who has a second class upper in our marking and that is how it goes on for other classes of degrees. So that is how we ended up with the list and so 70 per cent of the marks or grades that they got was based on those criteria, including if you were given an award by your university.
“For instance, if you are the best student in chemical engineering or your particular discipline, that counts. If also you’ve published something in a good journal, that will also count. So at the end of the day, we got a very good set. In fact, there is a particular state where we hardly got somebody with a second class upper, as virtually all the 15 people invited from that state had the first class” said the Executive Secretary.
Gusau said all the states of the federation are represented on equal basis except for the nine oil-producing states.
Aside from the overseas scholarship, the PTDF boss noted that some form of scholarships is provided locally for undergraduate students within the country.
“Those who are going to Nigerian universities are maybe three or four times of the numbers I mentioned. So we patronise Nigerian universities and it is strictly for the undergraduate programmes because we do such strictly for our universities” he added.
According to him, the whole exercise is to develop the capacity for the Nigerian oil and gas industry, adding that ‘going forward, virtually all the oil and gas operations in Nigeria will be taken over by Nigerians. That is the whole purpose of this exercise’.