The Sokoto State Government has released N1.2 billion to the state scholarship board for the payment of outstanding scholarship allowances.
The Executive Chairman of the State Scholarship Board, Alhaji Altine Shehu-Kajiji, made the disclosure on Friday in Sokoto while addressing the 200 students selected to study medical courses abroad.
Shehu-Kajiji said the funds collected this year were used to settle all 2017 and 2018 outstanding scholarship for students studying within and outside the country .
According to him, part of the money would also be used to sponsor 200 students selected from the 23 local government areas to study medical courses abroad.
The chairman congratulated the students for scaling through all the board’s examinations and screening exercises which were conducted in transparent processes.
He disclosed that not less than five students were selected from each of the 23 local government areas of the state.
He stressed that girls constituted high percentage in recognition of increased demand for them to fill vacancies on medical fields across health facilities in future.
He said no fewer than 100 would study nursing and other medical related sciences in India, while 50 would study medicine in Ukraine, 30 and 20 students to study medicine and nursing in Sudan and Ghana respectively.
He explained that 10 experienced health workers from state facilities were included to serve as guides, supervisors and monitoring young students’ activities during their stay stressing that those selected would also further their education.
The chairman disclosed that 3,000 students participated in the aptitude test out out of whom 330 attended interviews during the screening exercise, adding that by next week successful students would be transported to Abuja for international passport processing and visa interviews.
“ The Governor had directed us to transport you by air and sponsor all the processes.
“ I urge you to be good ambassadors of the state, live up to the expectations by coming back with excellent results and determine to work for progress and development of Sokoto state,’’ he said.
He further said based on experience, tuition and other payments would be paid on annual bases while students’ tokens are to be paid monthly to ease their study and avoid extravagant misuse of money by students.
“ All the processes were transparent and based on merits as most beneficiaries are from less-privileged families, no recognition of Governor’s son or Sultan , all candidates went through the same screening conducted by competent hands, ’’ the chairman said.
He commended Gov. Aminu Tambuwal for sustaining routine disbursements to the board noting that many disbursements have been received which facilitated board’s continuous activities.
The Board’s Director Foreign students, Malam Kabiru Labaran, further educated students on the processes, various countries requirements and some changes on courses and country selection because of grading system used in the exercise.
The President of National Association of Sokoto State Students, Malam Surajo Abdullahi, commended Gov. Tambuwal for prompt payment of scholarship to students both within and outside the country.
Abdullahi said the initiative would surely maintain Sokoto on the lead in education and producing requisite manpower in the country and assured that students would continue to perform well.
A cross section of the students who spoke at the occasion expressed appreciation to the government for giving them the opportunity and promised to live up to expectations.
The students described the priority accorded to medical related courses as panacea for uplifting social and health condition of residents by producing qualified manpower to man healthcare facilities across the state.