ABUJA (Report From The Ministry of Education) – The Supervising Minister of Education, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike has recently presented the Presidential Special Scholarship for Innovation and Development (PRESSID) award to one hundred and four first-class Nigerians from tertiary institutions in the country.
Ezenwo Nyesom Wike noted that the award ceremony which held at the National University Commission (NUC) for the 2014/2015 academic session was to enable them study in top 25 universities in the world at the Masters and PhD levels. He described the occasion as a major milestone in the history of the educational system and national development, saying the Presidential Special Scholarship Scheme for Innovation and Development which was introduced by the President for the second year running has identified young Nigerians purely on merit.
He continued that the Federal Government instituted the scheme with a view to developing a critical mass of professionals who would serve as catalysts of change and agents of scientific and technological advancement for the country. Adding, the criterion for the selection process was based on merit as instructed by the President from inception. Also, the Implementation Committee ensured that following the advertorial in the papers, only candidates with first – class degrees in the advertised disciplines were shortlisted for the aptitude test irrespective of where they come from, gender or any other criteria.
Explaining further, the Minister said that out of about 2,000 applicants that registered on the electronic portal developed for the scheme, 629 were invited for a computer-based test, considering that the test was electronic based, the results were released instantly and each candidate obtained their scores on the computer, leaving no room for manipulation. Wike acknowledged that all the 629 shortlisted candidates performed very well, but all could not be recommended for the award because of cost. He added that only the top 104 candidates made this year’s list and urged those who participated, but were not selected not to lose hope but continue to excel in whatever they are engaged in.
The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Julius Okojie (Professor) in his remarks said that the scheme aims at raising efficient manpower from the intellectual resources of other countries, who would return to help in developing Nigeria.
He observed that the awardees obtained first – class honours in the science disciplines such as Nuclear Physics, Operations Research, Industrial Chemistry and Quantitative Genetics. Also mentioned were disciplines like Basic Medical Sciences which comprised: Anatomy, Physiology and Medical Biochemistry. Others were special aspects of Biology, including: Biometrics and Molecular Biology.
In the field of Economics, areas identified were: Econometrics and Development Economics, while Engineering & Technology had Aeronautical Engineering, Mechatronics, Metallurgy, Material Science and Production Engineering as well as Nanotechnology, Cyber-Security and Software Engineering. In Medicine, Oncology, Human Genetics, Hepatology, Nuclear Medicine and Geriatrics listed.