21st September, 2023
By Funmilayo Adeyemi
No fewer than 72 Nigerians awarded Hungarian postgraduate and undergraduate scholarships would be departing Nigeria on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23.
Dr Yusuf Sununu, the Minister of State for Education, urged them to protect the image of the country as they leave.
He stated this on Thursday at a pre-departure briefing ceremony with the beneficiaries in Abuja.
Additionally, he tasked them to continue to polish the good qualities they have been exposed to and be willing to learn, relearn, and unlearn as they begin the first phase of their life journeys.
“It is noteworthy that scholarship is a reward for excellence and an encouragement to brilliant Nigerians who could not afford to sponsor their studies in foreign countries.
“As we are all aware, the Federal Government of Nigeria, in 1999, revitalised the scholarship scheme by investing more in national and international programmes.
“This is in a bid to strengthen the Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) with development partners to develop her manpower needs, he said.
According to the minister, in spite of the global economic meltdown, the number of development partners has increased, and many of them now offer scholarships to Nigerians.
He listed the active countries to include Hungary, China, Algeria, Romania, Morocco, Serbia, Mexico, Egypt, and others non-regulars, including Macedonia, Poland, South Korea, Greece, Japan, Tunisia and Turkey.
“In order to reciprocate their good gestures, Nigeria also offered scholarship awards to China and Romania in the past and hope to reactivate the gesture as these countries and others indicate interest.
“To all the awardees, I say you have all overcome many challenges to get to where you are today, and everyone of you has achieved success in your own ways.
“I want to enjoin the parents of the awardees to always uphold them in prayers and encourage them with sound advice at all times so as to make you and Nigeria proud by being worthy ambassadors,” he said.
He called on the beneficiaries not to hesitate to return to the country at the end of their programmes to assist in making Nigeria a better place by contributing their quotas.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, David Adejo, said the scholarships was a testimony of the incredible achievements of the beneficiaries of this year’s BEA Scholarship Awards.
Adejo admonished the awardees to be good ambassadors of their parents and the country, while advising them to utilise the opportunity to acquire requisite skills that may be available in their host country for Nigeria’s development.
He urged them to take their studies seriously and become catalysts for change upon their return.
“I urge you to expand your horizons, embrace new challenges, embrace the power of knowledge as a tool for effective change, and make the most of the resources available to you, as this comes with the opportunity to shape your future and contribute to the betterment of the world.
“On behalf of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I hereby express Nigeria’s profound gratitude to the government of Hungary for their immense contributions towards training Nigerian youths, thereby assisting Nigeria to achieve her developmental needs,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Director, Federal Scholarship Board, Mrs. Astra Ndajiwo, said that the scholarship was opened to Nigerian citizens in 2022 with 150 entries.
Ndajiwo said that after rigorous screening, 72 of the 150 applicants who scaled through had received their September to December allowances for their final departure to Hungary.
She added that subsequent payment of their allowances would start in January 2024 and would be remitted through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the Embassy of Hungary.
Mr Ayodeji Akerele, who spoke on behalf of the awardees, promised the Federal Government and their parents to portray the good image of the country as well as return to contribute their quotas to national development.