Commonwealth Scholars has held an awareness seminar for the Ritman University community in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State on how to benefit from scholarships and fellowships of the Commonwealth.
The event, which marked the 2018 Commonwealth Day, was anchored by the Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows Alumni Association of Nigeria (COSFAN) on Monday 12th March, 2018 at the university college auditorium. The Commonwealth of Nations, commonly known as the Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organization of 53 member states, including Nigeria, that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.
Vice Chancellor of Ritman University, Prof Celestine Ntuen said that Ritman University is committed to supporting Human Development efforts such as scholarship opportunities offered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC). He said this seminar was necessary to acquaint Nigerians with timely information on prospects and opportunities of the international organization.
The Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, described the Commonwealth as apparently one of the most robust international organisations offering scholarships and fellowships to citizens of Commonwealth countries, with over 25,000 individuals from over twenty countries having benefitted from these awards already. Ekpo said the programme has over the years turned out highly reputable scholars and fellows, including Michael Omolewa – Nigeria’s Permanent Delegate and Ambassador to UNESCO. He also stated that in spite of dwindling resources, Akwa Ibom State continues to run free and compulsory education at the basic levels in addition to paying over N600 million yearly for candidates of the West African School Certificate Examination.
The State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Udoh, commended the proprietor of Ritman University for providing quality and affordable education.
South-South Co-ordinator of COSFAN, Prof. Eno-Abasi Urua, stated that COSFAN is a body of scholars and fellows who had benefitted from Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships in the past and who want to help other Nigerians access opportunities offered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. She said the CSC scholarships and fellowships are aimed at talented individuals who have the potential to make change and that the CSC offers around 800 awards for postgraduate study and professional development each year.
Akwa Ibom State Co-ordinator of COSFAN, Dr. Emmanuel Akpabio, noted that many Nigerians fail to enjoy these opportunities because they do not have access to the right and timely information. He therefore encouraged prospective applicants to regularly visit the website: http//cscuk.dfid.gov.uk for updates.
He explained that to win a Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship, candidates would have to go through competence tests including writing a proposal and undergoing an interview. The commission will also consider relevance of the proposed study to development of the applicant’s country. He advised unsuccessful applicants to try again another time.
Dr Akpabio disclosed that COSFAN will offer mentoring services to help applicants prepare good proposals for the Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships which are very competitive. He said they will pool academic resources across disciplines and liaise with the Ministry of Education to share valuable information and resources that will be of benefit to applicants, while also networking with Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows overseas to help improve capacity of Africans. He added that past beneficiaries of the programme would be enlisted to serve as mentors and financial sponsors. Akpabio said the Commonwealth also offers Career Fellowships to upgrade the performance of professionals through learning from corporate bodies in the United Kingdom, thus acquiring more knowledge of skills and best practices in their professions.
Also in attendance at the seminar was a former Vice President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria – Prof Charles Uko – as well as boarding and day students of Ritman College, the secondary arm of Ritman University.
Edidiong Esara, 12/03/2018