By Uche Amunike
In the wake of the ongoing seven months industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Nigerian government has introduced United Kingdom, UK scholarships for Nigerian students, advising qualified ones among them to go for it.
This call for Nigerian students to go for the Chevening Scholarships presented by the government of the United Kingdom is coming at a time when the Buhari-led government of Nigeria failed to meet the demands of university lecturers, making students remain on strike since February 14, 2022.
Recall that part of the demands made by the university lecturers included improved funding to help revitalize tertiary institutions whereby ASUU wants the government to release N220 billion yearly; Implementation of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution; Review of National Universities Commission (NUC) 2004 Act to tackle the proliferation of universities; As well as 26% budgetary allocation to the education sector.
ASUU was forced to declare their industrial action indefinite after several failed negotiations meetings between their union and the federal government.
The NUC has however, called the attention of all eligible Nigerians to the UK Scholarship for Nigerians, asking them to send in their applications. This was done through a letter signed by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Administration of the commission, Chris Mayaki and addressed to all Vice Chancellors.
According to the statement released by the NUC, the Chevening Scholarships, which is awarded by the government of the United Kingdom are fully funded scholarships designed for people who possess the needed skills and commitment to positive change.
The statement, while advising interested individuals to submit their applications through the appropriate portal, read: ‘The National Universities Commission is in receipt of the letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ref. TSW/BRI/V/T and dated 12 August 2022, with the attached Call Letter from the British High Commission Abuja, dated 3rd August 2022, on the above subject’.
‘Consequently, I write to forward the Call Letter to Vice-Chancellors for urgent attention and wide circulation in your various universities.’
‘Interested Individuals are expected to submit their applications via www.Chevening.org/apply’.
‘A detailed information on the eligibility criteria and scholarship specifications can be found on www.Chevening.org/scholarships’.
‘As was the case in previous occasions, please accept the renewed assurances of the Executive Secretary’s highest considerations’.
Meanwhile, studies have shown that Nigeria is the third largest nation granted UK sponsored students visa in the year ending June 2022.
According to the UK Home Office, in its National Statistics report, which was titled ‘Why do People Come to the UK? To Work?’ and published on Thursday, August 25, 2022, Nigerian student’s visa approvals to the UK increased from 8,384 to 65,929from the year ending 2019 to the year ending June 2022.
Nigerian nationals saw this biggest relative increase in sponsored study grant visa grants compared with 2019, making nearly an eightfold rise, increasing from 8,384 to 65,929, thereby making them the 3rdlargest nation in the current year.