By Afolabi Abiodun
Dr. Bosun Tijani, minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, recently announced the Federal Government’s new initiative: a plan to train one million youths in various soft technical skills. The ambition behind this move is unequivocal-transforming these young individuals into invaluable assets for Nigeria’s future. Predictably, while the discerning sees the potential and stands ready to capitalise, there are those, whether driven by skepticism, inertia, or mere negativity, who choose to dismiss or even mock the initiative.
I often share with the young minds I mentor that post-graduation unemployment is frequently a consequence of missed opportunities during academic years. Excellence in academia paves the way to broader horizons; however, even those who’ve faced academic challenges have a world of opportunities waiting, both in Nigeria and internationally. It’s about having the foresight and drive to seize them.
Our current age, characterized by digital advances, places vast information within reach. Still, it’s disheartening to see the potential of such powerful tools as smartphones squandered on frivolities like gossip or the vortex of social media. In a heartfelt conversation with my children, I warned them against becoming passive digital bystanders, cautioning about the platforms that merely profit off their attention, and urged them to prioritize educational pursuits as their gateway to financial independence.
Nigeria, mirroring global trends, offers a plethora of scholarships to ambitious students for both national and international education. Some, with an eye on the future, grab these opportunities, while others remain paralysed, often lamenting the apparent scarcity of resources.
On a personal note, I initiated the IT Launchpad initiative in partnership with Ikorodu Resource Group (IDRDG), a project aimed at training SS2 and SS3 students on the essentials of IT and unveiling the promising prospects the tech world holds. It’s no surprise that those who’ve embraced this programme are on a trajectory far more promising than those who opted to sidestep it. Such initiatives are ubiquitous; one only needs the vision to recognize them and the will to engage.
Highlighting the expansive landscape of opportunities, here’s a curated list of scholarship options:
Scholarships in Nigeria:
MTN Foundation Scholarship Scheme: This is not just a financial aid programme. Besides catering to tuition, the scheme offers mentoring sessions, workshops, and internship opportunities with MTN for standout scholars. It primarily targets undergraduates studying specific approved courses in recognized tertiary institutions.
NNPC/Total National Merit Scholarships: Awarded based on merit, this scholarship covers tuition, housing, and book allowances. The beneficiaries are students from every state of the federation, reinforcing the company’s commitment to promoting academic excellence across Nigeria.
David Oyedepo Foundation Scholarship Programme: Beyond just financing, this scholarship aims to raise leaders imbued with a sense of nation-building. Beneficiaries undergo leadership training sessions, community development projects, and are mentored throughout their academic journey.
NNPC/SNEPCo National University Scholarship: Focused on increasing access to tertiary education, this scholarship caters to full-time second-year undergraduates in Nigerian universities. A holistic initiative, it also fosters mentorship programs and internship opportunities.
Federal Government Scholarships for Tertiary Institutions: This broad-ranging scholarship is not limited to undergraduates alone. It extends to Master’s and PhD candidates, covering fields from engineering to medicine. Moreover, it provides beneficiaries with an opportunity for international exposure through sponsored competitions and conferences.
Chevening Scholarships (UK): Sponsored by the UK Government, it is more than just a scholarship; it is a global community. Recipients become a part of an influential alumni network, gaining access to exclusive opportunities and events.
Fulbright Programme (USA): As one of the most prestigious scholarships globally, Fulbright doesn’t just fund academic pursuits. It promotes cultural exchanges, ensuring beneficiaries understand and assimilate the cultural nuances of the US, preparing them for global leadership roles.
Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (EU): Beyond financial support, this scholarship fosters intercontinental dialogue. Students gain insights from multiple European countries, exposing them to diverse teaching methodologies and perspectives.
Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarships (Australia): This Australian Government-backed scholarship encourages international research collaborations. Beneficiaries are given opportunities to work with Australian researchers, promoting global academic partnerships.
Gates Cambridge Scholarships (UK): Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, recipients are not only funded but also become part of a global network of leaders, with opportunities for additional training and seminars.
For an exhaustive list and details on these scholarships, please go to the below
To wrap, this article resonates as a fervent appeal to Nigerian youths: Rise and shine, discern the vast educational avenues around, and ardently embrace them.
.Abiodun is the Chief Executive Officer of ZKTeco West Africa, an affiliate of the globally renowned provider of biometric verification algorithm techniques, sensors and software platforms with multiple subsidiaries and R&D centres across the world