By Patience Longyen
The European Union Delegation to Nigeria as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has announced that 93 Nigerian students have been selected for this year’s Erasmus+ 2020 scholarship.
Amb. Ketil Karlsen, Head of EU delegation said this on Tuesday at the virtual EU Erasmus scholarship orientation in Abuja.
He said the scholarship for the prestigious study programme was awarded to the best student candidates who applied under the annual selection rounds.
Karlsen noted and the selected students, coming from Universities across Nigeria, would attend study programmes in at least two European countries over a period of 12 months to 24 months.
He said that having worked with the awardees on the field over the years, he knew the service they provided for the country.
“I worked a lot with you over the years; I have seen your work in the field; I know the service that you provide for your country as exceptional; So, it is always an honour for me to be with you.
“ Last year, only 44 were selected, so we have doubled the number this year,’’ he said.
Karlsen added that the orientation event was one of the most important events of the year, one which was at par with meeting with the President or Ministers or the Sultan or Cardinals because nothing is more important for the future of Nigeria than the youth.
“So, I am really glad to be with you,” Karlsen further said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has expressed delight over the scholarship awarded to more than 90 Nigerians by EU under the European Community Action Scheme for Mobility of University Students (ERASMUS+) programme.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, gave the government’s commendation during the event and recalled that since 2014 when the programme started in Nigeria till date a large number of Nigerians had benefitted.
He added that to attest to the high quality and value of the programme, beneficiaries had been doing great exploits in Nigeria and all over the world.
“Therefore, I want to commend the European Community for extending this wonderful opportunity to Nigerian young people, the hope and future of our great country.
“The number of Nigerian students selected for the programme this year is highly encouraging. This further strengthens our confidence in the EU’s strong commitment to expanding opportunities for Nigerians, especially the youth, the future of the country.
“The Nigerian Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari since inception prioritised investment in, and creating development opportunities for young Nigerians to excel in all their endeavours.
“This is why it is very heart-warming that the ERASMUS+ programme has been a fulcrum and thus commitment as we strive to secure the future and hope of Nigeria.
“The ministry, therefore, identifies with the noble objectives of the ERASMUS+ programme because it aligns with the National Youth Policy goal of youth engagement and development as a veritable tool for socio-political and sustainable economic development,’’ Dare said.
He further advised the beneficiaries, saying that a lot of hope rested on their shoulders and much was expected of them as beneficiaries of the ERASMUS+ programme and as ambassadors of Nigeria.
“You cannot afford to fail because Nigeria in particular places so much hope and expectations on you as future leaders who would deploy the knowledge, skills and experience to better the lot of Nigeria in terms of providing good leadership and service delivery to the nation.
“Your predecessors of this programme are already doing great exploits all over the world.
“This throws a serious challenge at you as you must strive hard to surpass their achievements and carve a niche for yourselves,” Dare also said.
The minister further said in the country today, quality leadership was more imperative than ever before in order to meet set goals and expectations of the citizenry.
“This programme will definitely broaden your horizon, enhance your leadership capacity and ability to deliver efficiently on your chosen endeavours.
“You must use the knowledge and skills to be acquired from this programme to transform your society and the world at large.
“You must be fully prepared to face challenges, and, remember that successful people never complain but see challenges as opportunities and share them with others,” Dare added.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Erasmus+ is the European Union programme which supports actions and partnerships and mobility in the areas of education, training, youth and sport for the period 2014 to 2020.
The Programme Countries comprise the 27 member-states of the European Union and five other European countries which are not members of the EU – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. (NAN)