The Federal Government, on Tuesday, flagged off the 2021/2022 nomination interview for Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowship Plan (CSFP).

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, speaking at the flag-off ceremony in Abuja, disclosed that more than 30,000 Nigerians have so far benefitted from the Commonwealth scholarships award, with the majority of the award holders making significant contributions to the development of the nation.

At least more than 350 candidates applied through the Electronic Application System (EAS) for this year’s scholarships.

Adamu who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc Sonny Echono, told the candidates that applications would be graded based on academic merit, quality of research proposal and development impact on the completion of the study as PhD candidates.

He added that the selection criteria give high priority to applicants that demonstrate the strongest relevance to national development.

He said the scholarship award was designed in a way for scholars to acquire the requisite knowledge as well as skills, and return to their respective home countries at the end of the award period to make a meaningful impact in their various fields of study to achieve a multiplier effect.

The Director, Federal Scholarship Board, Hajiya Ndajiwo Hammanjoda, in her remark, said the awards were very limited in number compared with the large number of applications received each year.

She noted as a result of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic, some selected candidates for last year were advised to defer their scholarship to commence in 2021.

“Hence this year, we have been asked to nominate only a specific number for PhD, but no Masters candidates, though not a permanent decision by the Commission.

“The value of the award per awardee depends on the field of specialisation and it is adjudged to be sufficient, with provision to spouses if indicated, thus makes the award scheme the most competitive and prestigious in the world.

“It is important to note that the grading score of applicants this year is based on Academic Merit, Quality of Research Proposal and Development Impact on completion of the study.

“The essence of this information is to alert the candidates to be disciplined and used during this exercise, so as to qualify for the nomination. There is no cordial or sentimental consideration to this; otherwise, Nigeria will lose her slots to other countries as Nigerian candidates are competing on a world stage,” Hammanjoda said.

On last year’s CSFP award results, she disclosed that there were 336 offers made to the 54 Commonwealth countries with an average of six (6) per country.

“Last year, four thousand, 4,424 candidates applied through the Electronics Application System (EAS). Nigeria received a total of 24 awards, due to the high quality of candidates presented,” she said.