Nigeria is the giant of Africa with an estimated 174 million inhabitants of which over 15 million of this population is in tertiary education. Everyone would agree that Nigeria as an African nation has a lot more literates than any other country in Africa, this is a good thing. As it places us in high demand for employment locally and internationally but the reality is that to become a graduate in Nigeria is not a cheap project. Globally education is expensive without the compounding effects of corruption, security and lack of infrastructure.
So what has our government and private sector done to provide succor to this problem?
Government and some private companies have created a series of scholarship awards but because they cannot pay for every Nigerian student there has to be a sort ranking system. While Government uses the National Manpower Needs Survey to evaluate the current and future professional needs of the economy so they can be guided on funding for scholarship and educational support. Private companies use the same National Manpower Needs Survey and their own company manpower needs to guide their decision to provided scholarship support.
For example when the government look at their statistics and see that there would be a shortage in welders in Nigeria, they immediately initiate a program or plan to ensure that this gap is closed by sponsoring students through this course or hiring foreigners to train Nigerians locally and internationally. This is a system employed by every nation that wants prosper and is not a strange thing. Similarly companies looking out for their own progress and growth would primarily provide scholarships to skills that can benefit their business. As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility they plow this investment in the areas of their operation. This is why most scholarship programmes in Nigeria are tailored to the Engineering, medical and technology fields because these are the areas that would help the country grow faster.
Despite the above a few organizations still provide scholarship that cut across all fields.
Browse through our compendium to find out which.
By Funmi Kayode, Manager (Dragnet Solutions Limited)