The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has started the selection process for the award of 2018/ 2019 overseas scholarship for Masters Degree (Msc) and Doctors of Philosophy (PhD) programmes.
Mrs Rabi’ah Waziri-Adamu, the Manager, Education and Training of the PTDF, disclosed this in Abuja on Monday at the interview for shortlisted candidates for the award.
She said the Fund had modified the style of selection by suspending the conduct of aptitude tests for applicants in the programme.
The PTDF also disclosed that it had entered into a partnership with top universities in France, Germany, China and the United Kingdom to help successful applicants in its scholarship scheme secure university admissions.
She said the interview, which was holding simultaneously across the six geopolitical zones in the country, was for special partnerships with Germany, France and China.
According to her, the interview will run for five days.
She allayed fears over lack of transparency in the new system, stating that the interviews would be conducted by a panel of experts, comprising lecturers from Nigerian universities and the energy industry.
According to her, the PTDF selection process has always been rigorous as evident by the exceptional intellectuals that it had trained over the years.
“The process has always been excellent, transparent, and has produced excellent scholars. However, this year, we have decided to make a few changes.
“In the past, we used to administer aptitude test to our MSC candidates and then oral interview for our PhD candidates.
“However, this year, we have decided to interview all the candidates. Why have we done that?
“For the MSc candidates, we have asked them to write a statement of purpose as to why they wish to study the subject area that they have chosen, in addition of course to their credentials.
“We have done that to ensure that we select the most outstanding students.
“We are looking for that ‘X-Factor’ in the candidates, what makes them different, what is it they are contributing to the country, how is it going to affect the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and globally.
“That is why we have changed the system to interview both our MSc students and the PhD students.”
She explained that PTDF had already agreed with the schools that once the selection process was concluded, the credentials and other documents of these students would be forwarded to them for admission.
However, she noted that this was not the first time that the PTDF would be conducting interviews for applicants.
“Our PhD students have always undergone interviews and the selection has been transparent.
“The panelist can attest to that fact, because PTDF staff do not select and assess these candidates.
“We invited a panel of experts who have graded the candidates and the successful candidates that we select attest to the fact that the process is transparent and we have taken merit into consideration.”
One of the panelists, Dr. Abdulkadir Mukhtar, the Head, Department of Chemical Engineering, Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna, declared that the process would be transparent.
He said the panelists would be looking out for quality and outstanding students that would be representing the country either in France, Germany or China.
“There is a template, more like a marking scheme that looks at the overall proposal that they submitted.
“During the application procedure, they were asked to submit a five-page document detailing the aims and objectives, literature review, methodology, expected results and references.
“Based on what they were told from the onset, we would be assessing them.
“For the Msc, we are looking at the ‘Statement of Purpose;’ stating why they want to do the masters programme. Masters is statement of purpose, PhD is proposal,” said Mukhtar.