By Funmi Ogundare
The Lagos State Government has awarded scholarships to students of the School of the Blind, Oshodi; College of Health Technology, Yaba, as well as some athletes to enable them complete their education. The scholarship pegged at 300 million is part of efforts to increase access to knowledge for Lagosians.
Speaking at a brief ceremony at his office recently, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, who expressed excitement about the grant, said it is an annual programme to assist students in various tertiary institutions, adding that the government also plans to expand it.
“One of the key things we want to do this year is to increase access to knowledge and the governor has made it a mandate that as many Lagosians as possible can get knowledge. We want Lagosians to know that the government works for them, so you don’t have to know anybody to have access to our scholarship system. It is something that started since the last administration and the governor has said it will consolidate with improvements and we are also going to expand so that is why we are supporting them.”
Giving statistics of the awardees, he said, 60 students from the School of the Blind will get N50,000; 336 students of the Lagos State College of Health Technology will get N13.6 million “and we will be giving out over N300 million in bursary this year to over 7,000 Lagosians. This year, we are going to have, 200 students on local scholarship in Lagos state, we are increasing it by over 600, and we are continuing it and adding new ones.”
On how the government will monitor the scholarship project over time, Bank-Olemoh said the state has already put in place a board to regulate scholarships across the state.
The Director and Secretary, Lagos State Scholarship Board, Mrs. Yetunde Jegede, who explained the selection process of the youths for the scholarship, said her office worked with the ministry of youths and sports to get them, adding that the award is tied to their academic performance.
“The Lagos State Government is working hard to ensure that the youths further their education. They have to take good advantage of it and put in their best in their educational pursuit. It is imperative that their parents should help in keeping their wards in school.”
Responding on behalf of the awardees, the Provost, Lagos State College of Health Technology, Dr. Moyo Kasim, thanked the government and the special adviser for the gesture, which he said would alleviate their financial challenges.
He added that the college is the oldest in the country and has since been training middle level manpower in the state.