The Presidential Special Scholarship Scheme for Innovations and Development (PRESSID) an avenue where bright Nigerians can be sponsored on a scholarship programme overseas has been stopped due to paucity of funds.The development is linked to the dearth of funds to run the project which was initiated by the immediate past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. This singular action has made Nigeria a laughing stock among the comity of nations.As it was reported on Channels TV ,many Nigerians that were/are on this programme are confused on what next to do. In a nutshell, Nigerians studying overseas are stranded and in a quagmire.
One of the major ways for a country to leave the poverty and under development space is via human capacity and skills development. Education is the key! Many countries of the world like Sweden, Norway and China have taken education serious. Chinese developed via the impact of returnee Chinese that acquired western education , same with many other countries like India and probably UAE. These countries achieved these by bringing the experiences and knowledge of these foreign educated nationals home.
Nigeria seems to be looking down on education and looking up on crude oil, which the country has no capacity to refine or add value . This is as a result of capacity building.
According to the report and interview on Channel TV programme , Saturday morning rise . Mr.Chinedu who is one of the recipients of scholarship programme has been stranded in the United Kingdom. Studying in one of the prestigious universities, Cambridge. He has been unable to meet his financial and academic obligations due to paucity of funds. Having written the Nigerian embassy in UK, the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and other relevant bodies to come to their aid, which up till the time of this report has been futile.
In the words of Chinedu ” we have written to all relevant bodies and we have been rendered incummunicado, I have taken a train from Cambridge to London ,where the Nigerian embassy is and delivered a letter to them. It cost me about £20 and this is coming from a man that hasn’t been giving allowance ” he continued and said that , the school authority is finding this situation disturbing and this will affect his education .
” I am meant to conclude my academic programme by October next year, by this November, I am meant to be done with my practicals. With the situation on ground, I don’t see this possible ” , he added.
This is also the situation many Nigerian nationals face out there. With the dwindling fortunes of the country, coming at a time the recession and low oil prices have seen a once buoyant country on her knees. This situation has affected the oversea sponsorship of education.
About six percent of the national budget is been spent on education, which is a far cry from the stipulated amount by World Bank and UNESCO . In the 2017 budget proposals presented by President Muhammadu Buhari, N448.01billion was allocated to education, representing about 6 percent of the N7.30 trillion budget, contrary to the recommendation by UNESCO. UNESCO stipulated about 26 percent of the budget must be earmarked for education .
The CIA World Factbook report affirmed this, registering Lesotho as having the highest percentage of relative educational expenditures (13% of GDP) which was the highest of all countries. This indicated a slight increase in the government’s relative expenditures on education from recent years. This is followed by Ghana. Government spending on education is a huge investment in human potential that enhances the future of the country. This is the only way any country can be developed.
Hopefully, as the economy is gaining momentum, the country’s budget on education will increase. Investment in human capacity building is non negotiable.
Anthony Emeka Nwosu