The University of Coventry in the United Kingdom will next month sign a memorandum of understanding with the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to boost education in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking at the Port Harcourt International Airport, shortly on arrival from a five-day working visit to some universities in the United Kingdom, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, said the Commission had reached some landmark agreements in the area of human capital development.
He said that there was an urgent need to resolve all outstanding issues with the NDDC-sponsored post graduate students and their host institutions, adding that “it became expedient because we realized that most of the schools have not been paid. We needed to address some of the issues that border on our relationship with the schools, as well as the students.
Prof. Brambaifa, who led the NDDC delegation which included the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Dr Chris Amadi, and other directors of the Commission, said the visit was an opportunity to deepen the existing relationships with foreign universities and take advantage of other mutually beneficial programmes.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the team visited the scholars benefiting from the Commission’s Foreign Post Graduate Scholarship Scheme in the University of Coventry, University of Derby, University of Salford, University of Birmingham, University of Hertfordshire and University of Huddersfield.
He stated that the Commission was very serious with its human capacity building programmes, noting that it had reached an agreement that would allow some of the lecturers from the UK universities to come to universities in the Niger Delta region on exchange programme.
Also speaking at the airport,the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Dr Chris Amadi, stated that the Foreign Post Graduate Scholarship Programme had been running for the past 12 years. He observed that this was the first time the monitoring and evaluation of the scheme was done at the highest level involving the top executive of the Commission.
He said: “In the course of the visit, we were able to resolve some of the outstanding issues that were lingering before we came on board. We also leveraged on the opportunity to foster new areas of partnerships. I am happy to announce to our people that in addition to what we are currently doing with the universities. We got some new deals that will benefit students and people of the region.
“We have a commitment from Coventry to grant additional scholarships to students who excel at first degree level. By this arrangement, first class students from the region will be granted scholarship by Coventry University.”
As part of the collaboration, he said, there was an agreement for the establishment of specific Master’s level scholarships for best graduating students from universities in the Niger Delta region, as well as an arrangement for the establishment of a Doctoral Training Centre.
Dr Amadi said that the collaboration would include the establishment of an e-library system which would allow researchers and scholars from the Niger Delta region to have access to materials published from top journals and electronic databases.
He added: “We expect that this opportunity will open a new vista for more things to come to our region.”