The French Government says it has offered scholarships to 35 students and staff of the Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo (FUNAI) Ebonyi, to study in the best universities in France.
Mr Denys Gauer, the French Ambassador to Nigeria, disclosed this on Thursday in Abakaliki while delivering a lecture as part of the FUNAI—French Government collaboration.
According to Gauer, the scholarship was part of the agreement signed between the French government, FUNAI and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) in January, 2016.
“The scholarship would enable the trainees pursue masters or PhD studies in the best French universities in Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Dijon or Grenoble.
“The first group of students and junior lecturers has left and the two others would soon follow.
“They will come back in a few years, to contribute to the development and success of this university and beyond, making us proud in the process,” he said.
Gauer saidd that 250, 000 foreign students chose to study in France every year out of which 100, 000 were Africans.
“We are the fourth educational host country in the world and the first for African students but curiously, only a handful comes from Nigeria.
“It is then gratifying to see that FUNAI decided to send its promising staff-in-training to France for the benefit of the institution.
“This also makes a lot of sense because in France, one can study engineering, mathematics, humanities or social sciences at the highest level and learn the French language at the same time,” he said.
He commended the university’s Vice Chancellor for his hard work and dedication, as the knowledge and experiences shared through exchange programmes, foster mutual understanding.
“France believes that Africa and Europe’s futures are deeply interwoven and that the youths should be given as much opportunities as possible.
“There are too many challenges we need to confront together and also too many chances we can seize together such as terrorism, climate change, cultural exchanges, trade and investments among others,” he said.
Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, the university’s Vice Chancellor, said that the visit and lecture by the French ambassador were significant events in the history of the young university.
“It is the seal in the context of our partnership with the French embassy as France is a major world power with very many quality universities.
“Exposure to the university system in France will bring numerous advantages to our staff as the cost of training is affordable when compared to those of other European countries,” he said.
He noted that after graduation, France offers excellent opportunities for the university’s alumni to relate and benefit their future career.
Gov. David Umahi while receiving the French ambassador during a courtesy call, noted that the state government would enhance its educational exchange programme with the French government.
“We seek your collaboration in establishing a French learning system in the state due to the numerous advantages obtained presently in learning the language,” he said. (NAN)