Jonathan inaugurates committee on scholarship for best brains
President Goodluck Jonathan has inaugurated a committee to scout the nation’s tertiary institutions for the best 100 first-class students that will be given scholarships to further study abroad.
Inaugurating the Special Committee on Scholarship for Best Brains in Abuja, on Thursday, the president instructed the ten-man committee to completely eschew the quota system in the selection process and go for the best brains.
The committee is expected to select the best 100 first-class students in some specialized courses such as the sciences, engineering and economics from universities in the country and expose them to the best facilities in the world.
In a bid to encourage and enhance knowledge transfer, beneficiaries of the scholarship after their graduation, are expected to lecture for the first five years, in the nation’s institutions, after which they can go on to be on their own.
The President, who is a doctorate degree holder, condemned the dearth of academics in the nation’s tertiary institutions, where only 60 percent of lecturers are doctorate degree holders.
President Jonathan noted that such a situation must change if Nigeria is be transformed.
He charged the committee headed by the executive secretary of the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, to shun quota system and work only on merit in the selection of the brains for the scholarship programme.
According to the President, for Nigeria to maintain its status as a leading African country, and for the transformation agenda of the government to succeed, the government must pay more attention to the development of human capacity.
To this end, he pledged a total commitment to changing the educational system, across all levels from primary to tertiary.
The President also on Thursday received the letters of credence of three new ambassadors to Nigeria.
The new envoys are Mr Tagelsir Mahgoub Ali of Sudan, Mr Paul William Lumbi of Zambia and Mr Antonio Da Graca Correia of Sao Tome and Principe.
President Jonathan welcomed the ambassadors to Nigeria and assured them that the government would work closely with them to improve and strengthen the already warm relations with their countries.
The new ambassadors expressed appreciation for the reception, and pledged to pursue mutually beneficial cooperation with Nigeria during their different tenures.