By Rosemary Ogbonnaya
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arch. Sonny Echono has said the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s nomination criteria gives high priority to applications that present the strongest relevance to national development.
Disclosing this at the opening ceremony of the 2022/2023 Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, CSFP, nomination interview held in Abuja, Echono said
applications and submissions would be graded based on academic merit, quality of study plan and likely development impact on completion of the study.
Echono disclosed that the ceremony was to kick start another nomination process for the most qualified Nigerians to compete globally with candidates from other Commonwealth countries, for the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan,CSFP, Awards.
According to him, the award, which is managed by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, London, remains one of the most prestigious scholarship schemes for international studies.
He said that more than 30,000 individuals have benefited from the award since 1959, while majority of the awardees from Nigeria have returned to make significant contributions to the development of the nation, particularly in the tertiary institutions. “This of course, is in line with the overall objective of the scheme which is to ensure that the returnee scholars make meaningful impact in their various disciplines,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary disclosed that the interview is keenly contested, due to the limited number of awards, saying part of the ratings for the awards was concluded during their completion of the Electronic Application System, EAS, forms.
He said the panelist were carefully selected team of experts and professors in the relevant fields of study and have been assigned to authenticate the significant correlation between the applicants interview scores and that of the Electronic Application System,EAS.
Echono, therefore, urged candidates to comply with all the requirements while filling their forms, while encouraging them to be focused and put in their best during the interview exercise to enable quality for nomination.
Reminding panelists that improving access to quality education is, no doubt, critical to the attainment of the national goals and global competitiveness, Echono urged them to not lose sight of the enormous developmental challenges facing Nigeria while rating the candidates.
“As stakeholders in the educational sector and the Nigeria project, we must do our part towards ensuring that the Change Agenda of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, which
gives priority to education and recognizes its centrality to attainment of our national goals, is facilitated and achieved.
“Also noteworthy is the fact that the successful nominees will be competing with other candidates from across the Commonwealth, and Nigeria’s success rate will also be a barometer for measuring the diligence and thoroughness that was put in by the experts assembled for this exercise. I am therefore confident that you will give your best in this very important national assignment for Nigeria to soar higher,” he said.
Speaking also, the Director/ Secretary of Federal Scholarship Board, Mrs. H.A. Ndajiwo
Revealed that due to the effects of COVID-19 Pandemic, only the PhD candidates were interviewed last year but this year, both Masters and PhD programmes were made open.
She said that the grading score will be based on academic merit, quality of research proposal and its positive impacts on the society.
“The essence of the information is to alert the candidates to be disciplined and focused during the exercise.
“The FSB is noted for presentation of scholars of excellence, which earns Nigeria more slots in the years past and the FSB intends to keep it up.
” I wish to use this opportunity to urge our erudite and credible panelists to continue to adhere to the set criteria of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, CSC, with a view to presenting the usual high quality candidates for the Minister’s,” she said.