The Federal Government has advised the Commonwealth scholars to be a good ambassadors of the United Kingdom and use the knowledge gained from their studies for the development of Nigeria. Director of the Federal Scholarship Board, Fatima Ahmad, stated this in Abuja at a reception by the British Council for members of the Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowship Plan Alumni network in Nigeria. Ahmad, who charged the scholars to compliment government’s efforts in the development of the education sector in the country, said that government was set to have their database through which it could also reach out to them. She disclosed that her office was working closely with the Federal Ministry of Education to harness the available skills of Nigerian youths for positive development of the country.
“We were already thinking of getting the data base of commonwealth scholars, so that we know when they returned, where they are, and then look for a framework within the government sector to absorb them. We know that employment is not automatic but at least, if we have their database, the tertiary education and other government institutions including research institutes may help and get some of them employed.
“So that we can move the country forward we are working on that to ensure that the skill they acquired under the commonwealth scholarship is not wasted. We will look into how to fix them into the transformation agenda that education for change is after. “My counsel to the scholars is to let us have their data base to see who is engaged and who is not engaged and the areas of skill assets they have.
Then, we engage them with a view to seeing where they can contribute to development of the sector as well,” she said. The British Deputy High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson, said that the Commonwealth Scholarships was one of the most visible institutions of the Commonwealth of Nations. According to her, the alumni are very important to the UK because they are ambassadors of UK education system. She said that, “as leaders in their various capacities and sectors, they offer an influential network to the UK. “The British Government is keen to remain in contact with the alumni and engage with them through events like these for a number of reasons.
The simplest one is building and maintaining connections with individuals who share core Commonwealth values of international peace and security, tolerance, respect and understanding and sustainable development,” she said. Country Director, British Council, Lucy Pearson said that the Council’s involvement with the scheme over the years has evolved from supporting scholars prior to their departure. Pearson said the Council was also involved with the scheme while on the scholarship award to supporting the scholars on return to their home country.
She said that the Council had supported the growth of the Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows Alumni Association of Nigeria. According to her, this is expected to be instrumental in demonstrating the impact of the scheme and promoting Commonwealth values in Nigeria.
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