The Akwa Ibom Government has said that its demand that applicants for the 2021/2022 scholarship award should declare the financial status, occupation and means of livelihood of their parents was to ensure that greater number of indigent and the physically challenged students benefit from the scheme.
The commissioner for education, Mrs Idongesit Etiebet, who stated this at her office, Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, Uyo, during a media briefing, stressed that the decision of government requesting the financial status, occupation and means of livelihood of parents of the beneficiaries was to ensure that those whose parents have constraints on the payment of fees get the scholarship.
Etiebet explained that government would restrict the scholarship award to the physically challenged students who must be registered, indigent (very poor) but intelligent students in federal and state universities.
She noted that the prioritization of the scholarship on the very poor students was to make sure that these categories of students actualize their educational vision and dreams, adding that the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel does not want to have any Akwa Ibom child dropped out of school due to financial constraints.
The education boss said government will accord high level of transparency to the screening process and ensure that the beneficiaries are truly those that deserve the scholarship.
She said the ministry would not offer the award to any applicant whose name relates or is in semblance with any personality in government within and outside the state.
On the allocation of 70 per cent quota for undergraduates in the science and technology disciplines, the commissioner said that government was not discriminating against arts and social science courses, but a measure taken to produce science graduates to serve the manpower need to manage the industries established in the state.
On the exclusion of polytechnic undergraduates from the scheme, she told journalists that when the matter came up at the State Executive Council, it was decided that the scholarship should commence with students in university system and assured that there would be submission for the polytechnic undergraduates.
The commissioner said that the N200,000 scholarship award for each student per session was not abysmal, stressing that findings indicated that fees including accommodation charged by federal and state universities stood at about N130,000.
Etiebet said when she met the Medical Students Association, she gathered that most of them dropped out of school due to inability to pay the professional fee of N97,000 and that if a student could pay the professional fee out of the valued amount, government would have done much to ensure that they continue and complete the programme.
She said government has given scholarship to special students based on individual application to the governor and that if there would be need to increase the medical students award, government would act accordingly.
It could be recalled that Akwa Ibom Government had approved scholarship award valued at N200,000 per session to 500 undergraduates in state and federal universities in the country with applicants attaining the minimum age of 25 years and in their second year.
Other requirements were that the applicants must be at least in their second year of study and a minimum of 3.50 Cumulative Grade Points Average (CGPA) on a 5.00 scale.
The beneficiaries were to submit their academic results at the end of every session to determine their continued eligibility for the next batch of the scholarship based on their CGPA.
Before the close of application on August 8, a total of 1665 entries were received, 1081 submitted their application, out of which 1054 were completed while 27 incomplete submissions were received
Present at the briefing were the permanent secretary, Lady Rose Bassey; the special assistant to the governor on education monitoring, Akparawa Udeme Udofia; and directors in the ministry.