PTDF Shortlists 5,000 Candidates For 2024/2025 Overseas Scholarship Scheme

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has shortlisted about 5,000 from the over 20,000 students who applied for its 2024/2025 Postgraduate Overseas Scholarship Scheme (OSS).

This was disclosed by the Head of Overseas Scholarship Scheme, PTDF, Mrs. Bolanle Agboola while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Monday.

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The Overseas Scholarship Scheme is one of the flagship programmes of the Fund, and has been consistently sponsoring Masters (M.Sc) and  Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidates since the year 2000.

Specifically, for this year, Mrs. Agboola disclosed that “over 20,000 applications were received, out of which about 5,000 were shortlisted to participate in the exercise”.

She further disclosed that while over 3,000 candidates were shortlisted for M. Sc programmes, over 2,000 candidates were also shortlisted for PhD programmes.

The Head of the Scholarship Scheme who revealed that the selection interview exercise for the shortlisted candidates was being conducted simultaneously across the six geopolitical zones of the country, stated that the purpose was to provide the Nigerian students with intellectual foundation and skills required to participate actively in the nation’s oil and gas industry.

“This exercise is not just holding in Abuja alone; we have centres across the six geopolitical zones of the country where the exercise is running concurrently.  

“For the South-South, we have a centre at the University of Port Harcourt, South-West, we have a centre at the University of Ibadan, in South-East, we have a centre at the University of Nigeria, North-Central is PTDF Tower Abuja, North-East, we have a centre at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi and North-West, we have a centre at the College of Petroleum and Energy Studies Kaduna (CPESK)”, she said.

She added that the Fund’s target was to select the best for the overseas scholarship programme.  

 Mrs. Agboola who stated that PTDF is an agency of the federal government that is charged with the responsibility of building capacities and capabilities for the oil and gas industry, emphasised that the purpose of this was for the indigenisation of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

“So, the target is to give the necessary skills or provide opportunities for Nigerians to acquire the knowledge, the skills and the competencies that are needed for the oil and gas industry”, she explained.

She declined when asked about the expected number of candidates that would be selected after the interview, but assured that every state of the nation would be represented with equal numbers based on the available budget.

Justifying while the candidates are sent overseas instead of being trained in the country, Mrs. Agboola said, the Fund discovered that the oil and gas industry is a high-tech industry with high level equipment, and not readily available in Nigeria. Therefore, the students are sent overseas to be trained on these equipment and technology that are needed for the industry, but are not readily available in the country.

She, however, noted that apart from the overseas scholarship, the Fund also has an in-country scholarship whereby Nigerians are also trained locally.

Asked on the willingness of the students to return to Nigeria after the training, considering the “Japa” Sydrome in the country, she disclosed that the students signed bond with the Fund, adding the countries where they would be trained will not allow them to stay even if they want to.

“Once you have sponsorship from a government agency, and you want to get a Visa that will make you stay, they will ask you to go back to your sponsor to give you a letter (a letter of no objection). These are some of the measures that will make them return. I can tell you for free that a lot of them do come back”, she said.

She listed some of the countries that the Fund is currently partnering with to train the successful candidates.

“We have partnership with four countries that we are going to be sending the successful candidates to this year. We have a partnership with the United Kingdom. In the UK, we have about 18 Universities. These are top rated Universities, Imperial College, University College in London, Kings College in London, University of Nottingham and others. We have partnerships in France, Germany and Malaysia”, she said.

Narrating her experience shortly after her interview, Amira Bello from Niger State said, “the process has been smooth. Everything has been done in an orderly manner. The staff here are nice and courteous. The interview process was fair.

“We had people, some from the same field, petroleum and gas field in terms of Engineering and Management. It was just a very nice experience. The questions asked will determine whether you are capable or not”, she said.

Amira who is going for Project Management said, she has been hearing about the scholarship but never knew it was true.

Asked if she bribed someone before her name was shortlisted, she said, no, stating that any Nigerian could apply for the scholarship without knowing anyone.

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