The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC has commenced a Computer-Based Test, CBT, for 5,000 thousand applicants from the Niger Delta region for its Foreign Postgraduate Scholarship programme, as part of its efforts to provide more opportunities for the youths.
Speaking at the Information and Communication Technology Centre of the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, where the tests are being conducted, the NDDC Director, Education, Health and Social Services. Dr George Uzonwanne, said that over 20,000 graduates registered on the Commission’s portal for the Foreign Postgraduate Scholarship programme, out of which the 5,000 applicants were selected for the test.
He observed that the scholarship programme, which started in 2010, was designed to produce top level professionals with technical knowledge, capacity and expertise to compete in oil and gas industry, as well as other sectors.
Uzonwanne said: “The Scholarship Programme will equip our young people with relevant training and skills for effective participation in the local content programme of the Federal Government, as well as enable them acquire specialisation in their fields of study to compete globally in various disciplines.
“So far, the NDDC has sponsored 2,708 scholars at both Masters and Ph.D. levels since the inception of the programme in 2010. This year’s foreign postgraduate scholarship will be limited to the Master’s Degree category.
The Director remarked that the Commission initially focused on disciplines related to the activities of the oil and gas industries. “However, with the challenge of climate change and pollution and the need to sustain our environment, we have added other disciplines that we believe have a sustainable market. The Niger delta has huge potentials for tourism and we want to prepare the crop of people that will run these industries,” he said.
Uzonwanne stated that development indices of any country depended on the level of education of its populace, adding that the NDDC had a duty to build human capacity in the Niger Delta region in those areas that hold the key to the future.
The NDDC Deputy Director, Education, Mrs. Idara Akpabio, explained that the successful applicants for the Computer Based Test were drawn from all the nine Niger Delta states and they were put through several test sessions spread over three days.
She noted that to be eligible for the scholarship, a scholar must hail from the Niger Delta region and have achieved a First Class Degree, Second Class Upper, or Lower Division.
She stated that the scholarship programme covered disciplines in engineering; including Biomedical, Software, Marine, Mechanical, Electrical/Electronic and Robotic Engineering. “Others are Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Math/Sciences, Medical Sciences, Hospitality Management, Law, Architecture and Environmental Science.”
The Project Consultant, Mr. Godson Ideozu commended the management of the NDDC for sustaining the NDDC postgraduate scholarship scheme and giving hope to the youths of the Niger Delta through the programme,
An applicant who participated in the NDDC Computer-Based Test, Mr. Firima Gbara, commended the Commission for giving the Niger Delta youths the opportunity of having an enriching global experience through education.
He applauded the Commission for giving him the opportunity to participate in the test, saying that he was hopeful of going through to the next phase of the selection process.
He affirmed: “The examination was very transparent; I hope I will be selected for the scholarship and I will come back to Nigeria and develop my area of discipline.