By Obas Esiedesa
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) on Monday commenced the screening of 6,000 shortlisted applicants for its 2020/21 Overseas Scholarship Scheme (OSS).
Speaking to journalists in Abuja before the screening began, the PTDF Head of OSS Department, Bello Mustapha said the 6000 were shortlisted out of about 25,000 Nigerians that applied for the Master’s and doctorate programmes in foreign universities.
He said the scholars would be sent to universities in Europe and Asia as part the Fund’s mandate to develop the capacity of Nigerians to fit into the oil and gas sector.
He said: “We are here for the 2020/2021 overseas scholarship screening and interviews and its going to run for two weeks here in Abuja from 16th to 27th of March”.
He explained the Fund “received over 25,000 applications and we shortlisted over 6,000 but its spread across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria where the interviews will take place.
“We use panelists for the interviews. We usually use 90 percent of our old scholars that have graduated with a PhD, excellent scholars; they are the ones who are going to conduct the interviews. There are up to 91 panelists spread across the six geopolitical zones”.
Mustapha noted the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic have not affected the Fund’s plan for the scholars stressing that “the session commences in September, if the Coronavirus problem is not tackled by then, we will make some proactive measures to take care of the problem”.
He disclosed that the interview for the Doctorate degree scholars would be held next week.
He explained that in order to quickly interview the shortlisted applicants, centres have been opened across the geo-political zones of the country.