943 1st Class Graduates Jostle for 100 Presidential Scholarship Slots.
There were no fewer than 943 first class graduates from different universities across the country who sat for the Presidential Special Scholarship for Innovation and Development (PRESSID)in Abuja on Monday.
The examination which is being coordinated by the National Universities Commission (NUC) was initiated three years ago by the Presidency to train critical mass of experts where the nation is lacking behind especially science and technology.
A member of the Presidential Special Scholarship for Innovation and Development (PRESSID) implementation committee, Professor Olurotimi Tayo who supervised the conduct of the examination disclosed that 943 first class graduates who were screened from over 2,000 who applied for the aptitude test participated.
He however said that only 100 candidates who excel in the examination would benefit from the special scholarship scheme which would take them to 25 best universities across the world for masters degree programme.
“We screened those who applied and invited 943 students for the aptitude test. People applied online but you can be sure that by the time we invited 943 students, then those who applied were more than 2000.
The idea is to train critical mass of people who would be able to innovate and develop the economy of Nigeria” he said
According to the coordinator of the examination, Dr. Joshua Attah the examination took place concurrently in London and some hours later in Washington DC, United States of America (USA)
While responding to question on marginalisation of certain geo-political zone in the distribution of the scholarship, he noted that the scholarship was based on merit regardless of where the beneficiaries come from.
His words: “The country is looking at those critical areas that will add values to the transformation agenda and the vision of the government especially those areas we have deficiency in the numbers of people who would drive or work in different sectors that government is interested in developing. It is not necessarily only engineering that government is looking at but also areas such as medicine, veterinary medicine and so on and so forth.
“The consideration for the examination is merit. Irrespective of where you come as long as you are qualified, you will be invited to write the examination and the result of the examination will determine the beneficiaries of the scheme.
“This is a special scholarship initiated by the President and the only consideration is merit. For this it is a special scheme, for you to participate you must be a first class material.
“Well in the last two editions we took hundred each although in the first edition we gave consideration to a physically challenged person and also in the second year we had a tie between number 96 and 104. So we had to take up to 104. We are looking hundred but who knows, this year may be the President may want to take more than 100 we don’t know.” (Leadership)