By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State government has offered automatic employment to 107 PhD holders as well as 200 MSc degree holders who have concluded their doctoral and masters degree programmes in various universities across the world.
While giving the approval, Governor Seriake Dickson also announced the automatic employment for all medical doctors, pharmacists, public health specialists and other beneficiaries of the State Scholarship Scheme who studied professional courses considered critical to the state.
A statement by Fidelis Soriwei, Dickson’s Special Adviser on Media Relations, said that the 107 PhD holders, who are beneficiaries of the State Scholarship Scheme, would be deployed in the three state-owned universities — the Niger Delta University, University of Africa and the Bayelsa Medical University — as lecturers.
He also stated that other products of the scheme, who studied medicine and other professional courses at masters degree level, would be engaged by the state government in the various medical facilities and the civil service respectively.
Many of the beneficiaries were from Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Agricultural Economics, Agric Engineering, International Relations, Pharmacy Practice, Public Health, Computing and Electronics System, Gas Turbine Engineering, Natural Resources Management, Environmental Law and Management and Statistics.
The governor noted that the State Scholarship Scheme, which was designed to send an army of Bayelsa scholars to universities across the globe, came with heavy sacrifice and cost to the government.
He said: “Those who woke up early and embraced education have taken over everywhere. This is our own way of equipping our people to be able to tackle the existential challenges facing us today.
“The cost is quite huge but no matter the cost, this is the right way to go. I don’t need to know anyone of you to be given the opportunity and encouraged to study abroad.
“While it is good to build roads, hospitals, edifices, for the state, investments in human capacity is the most important. All the others can collapse but the investment in human capacity development will endure.
“I had the intention to send out an army of scholars across the globe but the recession stalled that plan. Several programmes including the scheme suffered stagnation as a result of the recession, the worst in the history of our country.”
The governor assured beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme still in various universities within and outside the country that the state government would ensure the release of funds next week to gradually address the issues of outstanding bills in the various tertiary institutions which are host to them.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries who studied for Phd, Dr. Jude Cocodia, a lecturer at the Niger Delta University, commended the governor for his bold revolution in the education sector in the state.
He said that the state was already feeling the positive impacts of years of sustained investments in education especially at the NDU which is host to a large number of the beneficiaries.