PTDF rejigs scholarship schemes
THE Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has adopted fresh measures to boost the efficiency of its scholarship schemes.
The changes include a partial or outright domestication of the scholarship scheme in Nigeria in line with the local content policy and the denomination of the scholarship in hard currency as against the Naira due to the volatility of foreign exchange rates.
The Fund hinted that in order to give effect to the policy shifts, it has opened line of discussions with officials of foreign universities where Nigerian scholars are regularly sent for their Masters and PhD studies under the sponsorship of PTDF, on the possibility of either setting up branches of their institutions in Nigeria or collaborate with local universities in Nigeria, particularly those whose oil and gas related departments have been fully upgraded by the Fund, to become Centres of Excellence in teaching and research.
Executive Secretary of PTDF, Mr. Femi Ajayi who held interactive sessions with officials of the Imperial College London and the University College London as well as Nigerian scholars, said such a partnership will hence forth form the basis for the Fund’s future relationship and co-operation with universities providing training and research to its scholars abroad.
He explained: “This is because we have institutions in Nigeria which PTDF has over the years been upgrading. So we want a situation where there will be more co-operation between universities out here and our universities back home, and we have some faculties that we have developed or upgraded as an agency where some of these short term and long term courses can be run.
So we are discussing the various modes of partnership and collaboration towards moving along this line”. The PTDF has upgraded about 24 departments in universities as well as developed oil and gas polytechnics to drive the policy change.
The Executive Secretary said that some of these upgraded facilities have become centres of academic excellence for oil and gas related courses in Nigeria He added: “So it is along this line that we will want our partners to work out some kind of partnership with them with a view to doing something locally, because the challenge of industry relevance of research is also pointing us to that direction.
If you partner with a local institution that is very close to what the challenges and problems are in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, you probably will be able to structure your research along that line and that will ensure that the education we are giving to these people are need based and research oriented.”
He said that in the immediate, the Fund plans to use the National Institute of Petroleum Policy and Strategy, Kaduna, developed by the Fund as the co-ordinating centre for alternative energy sources and renewable energy resources and called on foreign universities to come on board with the Fund in realising the project.