The Petroleum Technology Development Fund has announced the cancellation of its overseas scholarship programmes for Nigerian graduates and undergraduates.
This, it said, was part of its new policy direction, adding that it would fundamentally affect the operation and funding of its overseas scholarship scheme and other training programmes under the fund’s management.
PTDF, in a statement issued by the Head, External Relations, Mr. Kalu Otisi, on Thursday, said the policy directions “include a partial or outright domestication of the scholarship scheme in Nigeria in line with the Local Content policy of the Nigerian government, and the denomination of the scholarship in hard currency as against the Naira due to the volatility of foreign exchange rates.”
To give effect to these policy shifts, the fund said it had opened up discussions with officials of foreign universities where Nigerian scholars were regularly sent for their Masters and PhD studies under the sponsorship of PTDF.
The discussion, it said, was on the possibility of either setting up branches of the foreign institutions in Nigeria or collaborate with local universities in Nigeria, particularly those whose oil and gas related departments had been fully upgraded by the fund to become centres of excellence in teaching and research.
The Executive Secretary, 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 would henceforth form the basis for the fund’s future relationship and co-operation with universities providing training and research to its scholars abroad.
He reportedly said, “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 cooperation 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.”
PTDF is a Federal Government agency which has the mandate of enhancing the institutional capacities of universities offering oil and gas related courses.
Ajayi said the fund plans to use the National Institute of Petroleum Policy and Strategy, Kaduna, as the coordinating centre for alternative energy sources and renewable energy resources and called on foreign universities to come on board with the PTDF in realizing the target.