The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, said the Presidential Special Scholarship Innovation and Development (PRESSID) scheme was based on merit and not on quota system.
This information is contained in a statement signed by Okojie in Abuja on Tuesday when he visited to the venue of the test.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 629 candidates recently sat for a computer-based aptitude test at Chams City, Abuja.
NAN reports the aptitude test was to select best brains that would be sponsored to study at the 25 top universities of the world.
Okojie, who is also the Chairman, Implementation Committee on PRESSID, said that only First Class graduates who met the criteria were shortlisted for the test.
He said the exercise was meant to select “the best among the best’’, and to ensure that the selected candidates met the minimum requirements for the scheme initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan.
He explained that no fewer than 2,000 candidates applied for selected programmes in engineering, technology, sciences, basic medical sciences, medicine and economics among other fields where the country was experiencing shortfalls.
According to him, only 629 are shortlisted for the test.
Okojie said the essence of the scheme was to train the critical mass of professionals required to drive the transformation agenda of the present administration and the goals of the vision 20:2020.
He said the candidates, upon graduation, would return to Nigeria to work for the government for five years before taking up any other appointment.
The executive secretary while explaining the selection criteria, said the test was for graduates with First Class honours for 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 academic sessions.
He said the scheme was for candidates who were below 30 years, possessed basic requirements of Senior Secondary School Certificates, and local government identification.
He said other criteria were for those who had bachelor’s degree certificates and had completed the National Youth Service Corps scheme.
Okojie recalled that a similar test for candidates took place in 2012 after which 101 graduates were selected and sponsored to the top 25 universities in the world.
He said the candidates were currently pursuing their postgraduate studies in specific fields.
The PRESSID committee comprises representatives of the NUC, Ministry of Education, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Federal Scholarship Board and some professors. (NAN)
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