By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) says it will select 555 scholars to participate in the 2019 Local Scholars Scheme (LSS) programme for Masters (Msc) and Doctorate degrees (PhD).
Mrs Rabi’ah Waziri–Adamu, PTDF Manager, Education and Training made this known during the interview session for the selection of candidates in Abuja on Monday.
“Currently, we have more than 3,000 applications for PhD and Msc candidates right now sitting for the interviews and we have decentralised the interviews.
“So, we decided to have six centres, one in each of the geo-political zones.
“We will select 370 Msc candidates across the nation, that is, 10 per state including the federal capital and five PhD students from each of the states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory,’’ She said.
According to her, the fund has increased the number of the universities in the country that will participate in the LSS programme.
She noted that currently, all the 40 federal universities in the country would be participating in the programme, adding that it is part of the efforts to expand the programme.
“This year, unlike previous years when we had just 23 universities participating, all the 40 federal universities will be participating now,’’ she added.
Waziri–Adamu said that the fund had the undergraduate component of the LSS, adding that 10 undergraduates would be selected from each state including the FCT.
She said that the fund had yet to consider giving special preference for oil-producing states as it does with the Overseas Scholarship scheme (OSS).
“Our main focus for the LSS is the oil-and-gas related areas. As you know, PTDF has upgraded the programme, where we pick some departments in some federal and state universities that have oil-and-gas related programmes.
“We upgrade the departments, both human and infrastructure and then, the local scholarship scheme is instituted in each of these upgraded departments,’’ she said.
She added that the idea was to make the LSS more attractive to reduce the number of people participating in the OSS.
“We are making it more attractive, we have included an aspect that catered for bench work for PhD scholars, they go abroad and spend six months in a university that offer a programme that is related to their research areas.
“So, they get a supervisor that will work with them for six months abroad, we also give provision for conference, this is to encourage our local scholars to have an international aspect to their programme.
“So, once they have a paper that has been published or they wish to present, we allow them to go anywhere in the world, as long as we know that the conference is gas-related and of high standard and is recognised in the industry.
“We allow them to attend, then, PTDF foots all the bills including air ticket, allowance and accommodation while attending the conference.(NAN)