No less than 509 undergraduates from different universities in five states in the Niger Delta region of the Nigeria have been awarded up to N270.90 million by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) on Tuesday.
Mr Igo Weli, the General Manager, External Relations, said at the award giving ceremony in Port Harcourt that the SPDC-JV-sponsored scholarship sought to provide opportunity to undergraduates to enable them pursue their academic dreams.
He said that out of about 12,000 undergraduates who wrote the 2014/2015 SPDC-JV University Scholarship examination, only 509 passed after undergoing transparent test process.
Represented by SPDC’s Manager, Social Performance and Investment, Mrs Gloria Udo, Weli
added that “this Shell scholarship which began in 1953 has endured for over half a century to become a leading private sector-driven sponsorship in education in the country.
“The scholarship programme is a testament to SPDC commitment to education in Nigeria to
provides platform for young Nigerians to become beneficial to their families and society.
“The 509 awardees will join the expanding group of the many young Nigerians, particularly those from the Niger Delta, who have become leaders in various professional fields through this scholarship scheme.”
He said that the company had other scholarship schemes for secondary school students and primary school pupils.
He added that the oil company, through its Secondary School Scholarship Programme, provided
annual financial support to more than 1,000 students in its operational areas.
Weli noted that SPDC had also awarded hundreds of scholarships to indigent primary school leavers from public schools and provided other pupils secondary education in reputable private secondary schools.
He said that “in 2009, we added overseas postgraduate scholarship to our portfolio of education interventions and all these are designed to build a talent pipeline in our host communities.”
He announced that adverts for the scholarships could be found on www.shellnigeria.com and its social media platforms, regional and national newspapers, and in its host communities and universities in the country.
He urged interested and qualified candidates studying in Nigeria to always check the various platforms to enable them to apply.
Addressing the beneficiaries, Prof. Ndowa Lale, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), commended the company for the scholarship scheme and urged other corporate organisations to emulate it.
He said that without scholarships, many successful and eminent Nigerians wouldn’t have been able to realise their dreams and make contributions to national growth.
Lale said that the Federal Government’s current solution to addressing tuition fees in universities was counter-productive.
“The thinking of the Federal Government is that if tuition fee is pegged at N45,000, many Nigerians will be able to afford university education.
“The consequence of this is that the quality of education will also be going down because there won’t be money to run the university.
“The university is a very expensive system, and so if other corporate organisations emulate SPDC by assisting student’s education, then we will be able to maintain the quality required in university education.”
Lale, who was represented by the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Anthony Ibe, urged beneficiaries to take the opportunity to better themselves and the society.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the beneficiaries received cheque for their scholarships. (NAN)
Okegbemi Olusoji Festus is an Editor/Creative writer at campustori.com, A digital media Executive and a known Social Media Enthusiast.