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A helping hand to 20,195 indigent students



A helping hand to 20,195 indigent students

Recently, the Federal Capital Territory Administration awarded scholarship worth N304 million to thousands of indigent students. CALEB ONWE reports


It was not the first time the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) had come to the aid of indigent students who are desirous of acquiring education, but lack the financial muscle.

The current scholarships went to 20,195 students, mostly the less privileged children from remote communities. The scholarship awards valued at N304million went to students of junior and secondary schools while a number of students of tertiary institutions also benefited from the scheme.

Secretary, FCT Education Secretariat, Sen. Ida Maina, explained that the FCTA spends about N300million and above for scholarship, every year.

The scholarship policy was geared towards encouraging education at the grassroots and more of the beneficiaries were drawn from each of the 10 wards of the FCT.

Inside Abuja gathered that the FCT Scholarship board was mandated to expand the awareness campaign to such areas, especially the remote rural communities within the Area Council, so that more less privileged people willing to go to school could apply.


Pulse of the beneficiaries

Some of the beneficiaries of the scheme who spoke with Inside Abuja during the short ceremony where they were presented with letters of offer, expressed gratitude to the FCTA for helping them fulfil their dreams.

The tiny voice of Mustapha Sulieman, one of the beneficiaries, represents many voices of other indigent but gifted people who would otherwise be wasting away in poverty and ignorance due to lack of access to education.

According to the promising young man in his early 20s, he had very little hope of getting the scholarship because of the fear that the ‘ factor might come into play.

Mustapha, a 100 level Computer Science student of Nasarawa State University, Keffi said: “I have even lost the hope of getting this scholarship because I had nobody to follow up the application for me.

“I feel very happy about this scholarship, I thank the Secretary for Education for giving us the opportunity to go to school. I know that there are many less privileged people who need this scholarship. I heard about the scholarship, and I picked up the form to apply around February this year. Two weeks ago, we were called to come for an interview. I didn’t pay any money apart from the N500, the cost of the form”.

A female beneficiary, Barache Musa, a 100 level student of Public Administration in Nasarawa State University, Keffi, said she was short of words, due to overwhelming joy.

According to her, she least expected to be among the successful applicants in the scholarship scheme because no important figure was behind her to push her application.

For the beneficiaries at the secondary school category, they would enjoy a seamless cruise through the junior or senior schools without thinking of how to cope with the financial implications.

Tashe Ibrahim, Desk officer of the FCT scholarship Board, at the FCT Technical College, explained that out of 67 beneficiaries from the school, 20 were orphans, who have been swimming against the tide in pursuit of knowledge.

He expressed optimism that government would live up to its responsibilities in ensuring that the initiative was executed in all ramifications.

“When the scholarship was announced, students were encouraged to buy the form for N500. Students, who applied were not selected but we considered about 20 orphans in the school. This scholarship is just for three years. That is from Senior Secondary 1-3. Yes, the government will live up to its responsibilities. As you can see, we have been given all the necessary documents regarding the offer,” Ibrahim said.


Commitment to sustainability

Chairman of FCT Scholarship Board, Abubakar Giri, disclosed that about 18,000 beneficiaries of the scholarship award were fresh applicants, while the remaining 1,525 of them were old beneficiaries of the scheme.

Giri pledged that the integrity of the selection process would be sustained to ensure more people had access to educational empowerment.

Director, FCT Scholarship Board, Isah Rany, said that the purpose of scholarship in the FCT was principally to increase access to education, ensure retention and completion rates among the beneficiaries. He said the board was looking forward to ensuring that the beneficiaries of the programme would remain in school, pursue the courses for which they were awarded scholarships and complete them at the end of the day.


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