25 Nigerian Students Get United World Colleges’ Scholarships, Resume In September
SINCE the inception of the United World Colleges (UWC) and Nigeria’s involvement in its scholarship scheme, not more than 10 students have been sent each year to the various UWC campuses around the continent. But this year, 25 students have been awarded scholarships, which is adjudged a milestone in the history of the scheme that awards International Baccalaureate certificates.
While speaking at the presentation of certificates to the students who will be resuming school at the 14 campuses of UWC around the world by September, Chairman of National Council Committee and board guru, Mr. Hakeem Bello-Osagie, who was represented by a trustee Mrs. Peterside Taba noted how exciting it was to be sending off the next set of students which had become a tradition, right from when the chairman was admitted into the UWC in the early 1970s. She added that there are nine scholarships and that two are fully paid for and seven partly paid for while the 16 other students were on fee-paying basis.
On the selection process, another trustee member of the council, Prof. Isabella Okabue said that yearly the committee is saddled with the responsibility of finding suitable candidates for UWC.
According to her, “We select and send the nominations of students to the UWC schools; they review what we have done and either accept or reject the candidates we have chosen but I am glad that in my 15 years of working with the committee, they have never rejected any of our nominations.
“It is a rigorous process; we contact and visit schools in order to sensitize them on the existence of this programme. We get in applications from the schools including information to be provided by the principal of these schools and we study them. We also ask students to write on why they want to go to a UWC and we take all of that into account and come up with a shortlist. We also invite the shortlisted students for a three-day interview process which includes a general paper, physical activities, initiative tests, giving of impromptu speeches and oral interviews.”
Okabue, however, noted that the UWC introduced the fee-based scholarships following the economic meltdown, and so as not to compromise on merit, adding, “The schools all used to be scholarship-based and each year the schools will write to the national committee telling them how many students they want from that country based on the availability of funding. Since some sources of funding dried up over the years, they introduced the fee-paying scheme and so we now have two categories of students.”
Prof. Okabue also advised the successful students on the life expected of them in their various campuses, “I will like to encourage the students not to shy away from the out-door activities; we found out that our Nigerian students tend to choose the activities that keep them in-door and I think they will be missing out on a whole lot of things. They need to be adventurous”.
Also present at the orientation was the Executive Secretary of UWC Nigeria National Council Committee and boss of Etiquette Place Mrs. Yvonne Ebi. While giving out the Nigerian flag to each student, as symbol of their proud heritage and country, Mrs. Yvonne Ebbi asked the students to take the pledge as an oath and commitment which would remind them of their heritage and where they are coming from.
According to her, “If you want to do something bad, remembering the pledge you have made today; it should keep you on track. You are not just in the school to represent yourselves but also the country. So many people have negative perception about Nigeria; your attitude and conduct can make a change. We are courteous, loyal, honest and tenacious people. Your parents wouldn’t be there with you. You should live by the values we stand for as Nigerians”.
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