NDDC plans localisation of scholarship programmes
The Ministry of Niger Delta and the Niger Delta Development Commission are planning to review the scholarship programmes of the commission to stop sending beneficiaries abroad except on specialised courses not offered in Nigerian universities.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who dropped the hint in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the move was part of the changes that would occur in the commission at the end of the ongoing forensic audit.
Akpabio said the commission currently spent $30,000 (about N11.5million) yearly to educate a beneficiary of the NDDC scholarship programme abroad insisting that it amounted to wastage of resources.
He said after the scholarship review, only students, who applied to study specialised courses not offered in Nigerian universities would be sponsored abroad by the commission.
Akpabio said it was no longer tenable to spend a huge amount of resources to send beneficiaries abroad to study the English Language when such courses could be better studied in the country’s tertiary institutions.
The minister said the amount of money currently spent on foreign scholarships could train ten times the number of students benefitting from the scheme.
He lamented that the commission spent about $12million the last time it paid the yearly school fees and upkeep of its scholarship beneficiaries.
He said: “The Niger Delta cannot be the same again. You talk about the scholarship programme, with the fact that countries are closing up, is it still necessary to go and send your children abroad? So, we must review that.
“We should select universities that are doing well and send our children to go and study there. Using $30,000 to train one child in a year is a lot of money. I know that there are children you will give N2m to N3m, they will be in some private universities in Nigeria, they will do well and manage the money well.
“We will review that scholarship programme unless we don’t have that course in Nigeria, we will not send children to go and study English Language and give them $30,000 and they are in hundreds and thousands.
“We paid about $12million the last time. With that kind of money, we can train ten times the number of beneficiaries in Nigerian universities unless the courses we don’t have in Nigeria and that will be specialised courses. So, by the time the forensic audit finishes, the NDDC will change.”
Source: The Nation