The Federal Government has disclosed that at least 30,000 Nigerians have benefited from the commonwealth scholarship scheme since its inception in 1959.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, David Adejo, made this known at the 2024/2025 Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan nomination interview in Abuja on Monday.
Adejo noted that the number was credited to the best brains the country was able to produce in the different fields of studies.
“It might interest us to note that since its inception in 1959 for commonwealth members nations, more than 30,000 individuals have benefited and of this 30,000 you can be sure that Nigeria has the greatest number.
” This number is not only because we are the greatest in population, second to India in the Commonwealth but because we have good brains in the country from the awards.
” Majority of the awardees from Nigeria have returned to make significant contributions to the development of the nation, particularly in our tertiary institutions.
“The Commonwealth Alumni in Nigeria have been instrumental in making laudable contributions to governance over time.
“This, of course, is in line with one of the key objectives of the scheme and that is to ensure that the returnee scholars make impact in their various disciplines for the betterment of the country,” he said.
Adejo pointed out that the interview would be keenly contested for, due to the limited number of awards.
He stated further that the panelists for the interview had been carefully selected from a group of experts and professors in the relevant fields of study were assigned to authenticate a correlation between the interview scores and that of the Electronic Application System , which was expected to be significant.
“In other words, your applications and submissions would be graded based on academic merit, quality of study plan and likely development impact on completion of the study.
” It is therefore imperative to further inform you that the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s nomination criteria give high priority to application that present the strongest relevance to national development.
” In this wise, we want to encourage you all to be disciplined and focused during the interview exercise to enable you qualify for nomination,” he added.
Adejo stressed that Nigeria is confronted with many developmental challenges and as such the country relied on scholars to put their best in tackling the challenges.
He aequally admonished scholars to see themselves as channels in which the training programme would help in creating a globally competitive Nigeria.
The Director, Federal Scholarship Board, Mrs Ndajiwo Asta, had earlier declared that the awards were highly competitive due to limited number compared to the large number of applications received yearly.
Asta cited that about 2,000 applicants had applied through the Electronic Application System which covered the awardees and their spouses.
She also called on the panelists to continue to comply with the set criteria of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission with a view to presenting the usual high quality candidates for the Minister’s endorsement.
NAN reported that of the 2,000 applications for the 2024/25 awards, the scheme has only 51 spaces, 21 for Masters programmes and 30 for PhD programmes.