Nigerian students with first class and second class upper division in science, technology and information technology-related subjects may have the cause to smile as they can now further their studies abroad through the National Information Technology Development Agency Education Fund.The agency, as part of its mandate to impact on the life of the citizens, especially in building capacity of the workforce, had in 2005 introduced the scholarship scheme into assist brilliant students in pursuing their careers.
In 2011, scholarship programme, no fewer han 80 Nigerian students with first class and second class upper grades in their first degrees, especially in the field of information technology,International Technology, computer engineering, have benefitted from NITDEF.The beneficiaries, who have been selected from 36 states of the federation and the FCT, are going for their masters and PhDs in various universities in the UK to study courses related in IT, computer and outsourcing.Speaking at the send-off ceremony of the beneficiaries in Abuja, the director-general of Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA). Prof. Cleopas Angaye, said that the students had done well in their various fields of studies.He disclosed that last year, 37 candidates were selected for masters and six for PhDs.
This year, 2011 programme, we have doubled the number for masters to 74, then 6 for PhDs,he said.He explained,We are actually executing mandates in three basic areas. One of them is human capacity infrastructure. Next one is institutional infrastructure, in the sense that we have to set up certain institutions to provide internet access, penetration and information technology in the country.What we have done so far is to set up an institution called Galaxy, and it is currently in charge of networking and connectivity in the country. The capacity building is to actually provide framework. We have set up certain infrastructure in the country, such as providing rural information technology development centre.
“The other one is human infrastructural development and that is where we are today. I’m very proud of my board members, because the initiative came from them. They believe that we should have some impact on the citizens, so we came up with this scholarship scheme. We have infrastructure to compensate people who are good in their field, people with either second class upper of first class.
On the total budget for the scholarship award, he said it varied, but pointed out that it covered almost middle to high bills.For the living expenses, we cover more than £10,000 for six months per students.While explaining that the six months payment was to make the students comfortable, he stated that all their travel documents are being taken care by the agency, “We do everything, we pay the fees. Before they leave, we pay their ticket to and fro. We pay them living expenses for six months, half the year.He noted that President Jonathan’s agenda is on transformation, adding that the transformation agenda required more skills from trained personnel.We can’t transform this country with people here alone. We need more hands in our fields. Part of what we need in our country is human beings to work for us; we don’t want to bring people from other countries to work in our oil and gas industries. Currently most people who do their software are coming from overseas, which is sad, he said.