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‘Scholarships, bursaries critical to educating indigent Nigerians’

By Ujunwa Atueyi
28 July 2016   |   3:43 am
Former Minister of Education and Chairman, Senate Committee on Industry, Sam Egwu, has challenged governments at all levels to ensure that provisions for scholarships and bursaries are readily available in view of the impact they have on the populace.

UNILAG students win UNESCO @70 Essay Award

Former Minister of Education and Chairman, Senate Committee on Industry, Sam Egwu, has challenged governments at all levels to ensure that provisions for scholarships and bursaries are readily available in view of the impact they have on the populace.

Egwu, a scholarship beneficiary himself said such gestures should never cease in the country’s education system as they are capable of giving a new lease of life to prospective beneficiaries.

The lawmaker spoke at the “United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) @ 70 Essay Award,” instituted last year by Youth Orientation for Development (YOD). Three University of Lagos (UNILAG) students received prizes for finishing in the top three positions.

They are Ogbonnia Amaechi Emmanuel; Agbazue Mmesoma Blessing and Akindeko Oluwaseun Olajide, who came first, second and third, respectively.Stressing the importance of providing young people with access to quality education, Ewgu, who was a special guest maintained that education remains the bedrock of development the world over even as he regretted that despite all efforts, “We do not seem to be getting it right.”

He said, “All over the world, scholarships and bursaries are always available, so that people from poor families can access education. It is applicable everywhere, even in advanced countries. If we do not make appropriate provisions in our budgets to cover all these and also fund our schools adequately, it will be difficult to progress.

“I, for instance, came from a poor family. I enjoyed scholarship during my period; it was through scholarship that I went to the university. So such provisions should never cease in our system, so that people from all background will be able to access education irrespective of their background. So, we need to create an enabling environment by making sure we give scholarships and bursaries to our students.”

Egwu, who said as minister, he came up with a roadmap for education, which identified four critical issues viz “access, funding, technical and vocational education and then infrastructure. All these and many more need to be addressed if we must get it right in the sector.”

President of the YOD, Mr. Emmanuel Ejiogu, in his remarks explained that the organisation in collaboration with the Federal Ministries of Education and Youth Development deemed it necessary to initiate an essay competition to commemorate UNESCO at 70.

“The competition which enjoyed the endorsement and collaboration of Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO, received hundreds of entries from students in secondary schools and tertiary institution across the nation, who wrote on ‘Building Peace in our Hearts and Mind with our Works,’ and ‘Building a Culture of Peace through Non-Violence Communication,’ respectively. It was designed to engage the minds of young people in building a culture of peace,” he explained.

At the secondary category, Terry Onyinyechi Nwanma, from Prestige Private College, Lagos, won the first position; the second prize went to Onuigbo John Chukwubuikem from Boys’ Secondary School, Ogidi, Anambra State; while Nwokpor Nnaemeka Collins from Hope High British International School, Ebonyi State, clinched the third position.

All the winners of the essay competition in the two categories went home with a cash prize of N50, 000. 00; those that came second in addition to the cash gift, received laptop computers; while overall winners who also got laptops won sponsorship to the United Nations summer camp in United States, next month.

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