By Etuka Sunday
Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) yesterday inducted 124 Masters (MSc) and PhD students as part of its 2018/2019 Overseas Scholarship Scheme (OSS).
The five (5) day induction programme which was organised by the Education Department of PTDF was to aid the students who will be studying various oil and gas related courses in Germany, France and China under the Fund’s Strategic Partnership arrangements with some top institutions in these countries, with necessary information required for survival.
Addressing newsmen at the event, the Executive Secretary, PTDF, Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau said, the purpose of the exercise was to develop capacity for the Nigerian oil and gas industry and that going forward, virtually all the oil and gas operations in Nigeria will be taken over by Nigerians.
He therefore, charged the inductees to be good ambassadors of Nigeria outside the country.
“For this particular set, we have about 124 MSc Students, 77 PhD which are going to Universities in three different Countries, which include Germany, France and China. Other sets are going later within the Months. The most important thing is that they are going there for a purpose but more importantly is that they should be good ambassadors of this country”, he said.
While speaking on the selection process, Dr. Gusau said, ”the selection was very rigorous and objective, to the extent that hitherto we subjected students to just a one hour aptitude test, but we thought that is not a good measure to determine their capacities. So what we now do is that we start right from the onset to find out the quality of degree you have after spending four years in the university.
“If you have a first class, you are going to earn more than somebody who has a second class upper in our marking and that is how it goes on for other classes of degrees. So that is how we ended up with the list and so 70 per cent of the marks or grades that they got was based on those criteria, including if you were given an award by your university.
“For instance if you are the best student in chemical engineering or your particular discipline, that counts. If also you’ve published something in a good journal, that will also count. So at the end of the day, we got a very good set. In fact, there is a particular state where we hardly got somebody with a second class upper, as virtually all the 15 people invited from that state had a first class”, he said.
On equality among states, he said, each and every state of the federation is entitled to a specific number and the same number. The only addition that we give is for oil producing states. And there are many of them, so they have additional numbers.
The PTDF boss who said, there was funds for the students, also said, that the students would take off this week when the Visa process with the different countries is concluded.
He said, “those who are going to Nigerian universities are maybe three or four times of the numbers I mentioned. So we patronise Nigerian universities and it is strictly for the under-graduate programmes because we do such strictly for our universities.”
Some of the students commended the transparent nature of the process and promised to contribute their quota to the development of the country when they must have acquired the necessary expertise on their fields of study.