From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has shortlisted over 8,000 Nigerian postgraduate students who will jostle for a few available slots for overseas scholarship in oil and gas related fields.
Mustapha Bello, Manager, Overseas Scholarship Scheme Division of PTDF, made the disclosure in Abuja on Monday at the screening exercise for those shortlisted for Masters and PhD programmes for the 2022/2023 academic session.
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According to him, over 26,000 people applied for the scholarship programme, out of which over 8,000 were selected for interviews.
He assured that candidates with the highest scores in each state would be selected, adding that concession was made to oil producing states.
Bello emphasized the overall number of candidates that will be resuming overseas for the new session that commences in September will be determined by availability of funds.
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On the overseas institutions the successful candidates will be attending, Bello explained that PTDF has 18 universities in the United Kingdom that the agency was partnering with.
“We have strategic partnerships with the UK; we have in Germany, we have in Malaysia, we have some in China even though we’re not using China this year because of the pandemic issue and we have in France.
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“They are some of the best institutions in the world that we are sending our scholars to. Because of the rigorous selection process that we have, we send the best and based on the attestation that we get from the schools, you can see that they’re among the best scholars you can find anywhere in the world.
“We usually conduct the interviews in the six geopolitical zones of the country but we are doing in five geo-political zones of the country this year because of the issue of insecurity in the South East.
“So, we are using Ibadan, Bauchi, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kaduna.
We sent all shortlisted candidates a mail to choose any center they so desire. In all the geopolitical zones, you can actually choose any center that you want. You may be in the South East and you decide to come and do it in Abuja, or you can even go to Bauchi. noted.
“We are starting today and it will run for three weeks in Abuja here, then two weeks in the other centers apart from Bauchi. Bauchi is for just one week because we don’t have many candidates there”, he stated.
Bello further explained that the PTDF scholarship programme has been on since 2000, adding that a lot of beneficiaries have been absorbed in the oil and gas industry.
“Some of them are in Shell, some of them are in NNPC. We have a lot of scholars that have proven themselves. Some of these panelists here are ex-scholars. They went to do PhD and returned. By coming back now, they are contributing to Nigeria’s progress”, he added.