Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has said it will no longer accept requests for extension of timelines for scholarship programmes that are funded by it from either beneficiaries or their host institutions.
The agency said going foreword, beneficiary scholars on its schedule must complete their programmes within the stipulated time, adding that it would not condone any form of extension, “except in extenuating circumstances.”
Speaking recently in Abuja when it hosted the 2018/2019 PTDF Overseas Scholarship Scheme for Masters and postgraduate doctorate scholars under the United Kingdom Strategic Partnership, its Executive Secretary, Aliyu Gusau, said the fund would not be liable for any extension beyond the recommended period.
According to him, “We won’t accept requests for extension anymore from scholars. This means that you must finish within the stipulated time, which is about 36 months for PhD scholars and something a bit similar for those going for MSc programmes. The PTDF will not accept extension requests except in extenuating circumstances.”
Gusau, further explained that, “The universities have allocated timelines for courses. So, it is not as if it is an open-ended thing, because each university has a specific time for you to complete a course. For this particular scholarship programme, we have about 122 MSc students and 76 PhD scholars for the UK.”
He explained that the decision to cut down the number of PTDF’s partner universities in the UK from about 60 to 15, was to strengthen the PTDF and help reduce the huge cost spent on scholarship programmes.
“Before we allowed students to go round the UK, pick any university of their choice and we provide the scholarship. But that does not provide value for money. So, we decided that we want the best and we came up with about 15 universities, which are among the best in the UK.
“At the same time, there is an additional advantage for doing that. Now, we can sit down with the universities and guarantee a specific number and also demand for discounts from the institutions. And right now we are getting discounts of between 15 to 20 per cent from the different universities, but this depends on the university,” he stated.
When asked how many universities the PTDF worked with a year ago, Gusau said: “Last year we had about 60 different universities and that’s a very unhealthy number, but right now it has been cut down to about 15.”
He also stated that the PTDF would soon commence local scholarship programmes, and that the number of scholars would be higher than those on foreign scholarship programmes.
“We are going to commence the scholarship programmes for Nigerian universities possibly by the end of this month and we expect the numbers to be higher than those of the foreign scholarships,” Gusau added.