BY TOPE TEMPLER OLAIYA
THE MTN Nigeria Foundation has announced the provision of financial support to 500 eligible science and technology students in accredited institutions across the country.
The scholarship award of N200,000 per student will cover tuition, book allowance and stipend (pocket allowance).
Beneficiaries will be paid at the beginning of the 2009/2010 academic session and will only be awarded to second year full time students in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
The Foundation seeks to attract high caliber full time students into the science and technology sector and is intended to provide assistance to those students who might otherwise be unable to fulfill their education financial obligations as well as reward and recognise superior academic performance.
Applications in the following list of approved disciplines will be considered: Agricultural Science; Communication Technology; Computer and Electronics; Computer and Information Science; Computer and Mathematics; Computer Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical Engineering; Electronics and Computer Technology; Electronic Engineering; Engineering Physics; Industrial Mathematics; Industrial Physics; Information Technology; Mathematics; Mechanical Engineering; Medicine; Physics Electronics; Physics Engineering; Physics/Computational Modeling; Pure/Applied Physics; Statistics; and Computer Science.
Applicants from universities and colleges of education must have a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) score of 3.5 or its equivalent (2.1), while applicants from polytechnics must have a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 (upper credit) and currently undergoing industrial training. Closing date for receipt of applications is Friday, October 30. More information is available at www.mtnonline.com/mtnfscholarship
UNN lights up Lagos with The Maiden Dance
By Charles Cephas
LAST Sunday, October 18, students of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) lit the Next Centre & Suites Auditorium, Ajao Estate, Lagos, with brilliant performances of dance, music and drama.
Titled The Maiden Dance and written by Fred Chukwudi Okoli, also a student of the department, the play highlights the intrigues of marriage and the imposing stigma of African tradition on creative ingenuity.
According to the Senior Co-ordinator of the project, who is also an associate lecturer of the department, Mr. Abiodun Osinuga, the decision to embark on the project came with the need to depict the beauty and the intrigues of the Nigerian culture, celebrating marriage as the symbol of unity amongst different nations.
Another reason he gave, was the strong need to equip and empower students with the knowledge of who they are and where their passion really lay. He said, “most students go through school never identifying themselves, not knowing what they can do. They just want to go through school, get a certificate and roam the streets in search of jobs. Today’s mass communication students should not see themselves that way.
The play, which starred Peachman Akpota (an alumnus of the school, who dropped his accounting profession for acting), Nkem Ike (upcoming actress and seasoned model), and Judith Iwu, another upcoming Nollywood actress, also featured Charles Cephas, Emmanuel James, Joy Richards, Pat Onuoha-Amadi, Charles Ogwo and Deborah Okoro, all students of the department.
Director of the play, Iyke Nwabueze, noted that feats like The Maiden Dance, performed by amateurs, would go a long way in redefining the beauty of the arts in the country, especially at the grassroots level.
How we won the Zain African Challenge — UI team
While their colleagues across the country were sitting at home as a result of the strike action embarked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the trio of Nwachukwu Nnaemeka (400 level Physiology), Olanrewaju Shittu (500 level Law) and Olatunji Oyelere (400 level Medicine and Surgery), representatives of the University of Ibadan at the recently concluded Pan-African Zain African Challenge were feeling the heat of Uganda, eyes fixed on the star prize of a $50,000 grant for their university. Participating in the competition involving 32 universities for the first time, the all-conquering team also won for $5,000 each. The students share their experiences with ABRAHAM OLADIPUPO.
How was the Uganda experience like for you?
Nwachukwu: It was a good experience, first and foremost, we had fun and we learnt a lot of things during the competition.
Shittu: Having watched past episodes of the challenge, we knew we had a big task ahead of us. We were under pressure and we knew this. We had to get down to business, and at the end of the day, we were happy that we overcame the challenge.
Was your winning about brilliance or you were just being smart?
Nwachukwu: I don’t think there is much difference between brilliance and being smart, if you know something, you know it. Everybody was capable of winning; we were just focused on our goal, which was winning it for our university.
Was there any point you lost confidence?
Shittu: When you consider the schools we were up against, yes, there were times at the beginning we were scared, but we always had it at the back of our minds that it was just a game and not a do or die affair. So, that mentality helped us.
What do you have ahead of other contestants?
Shittu: It was the second game. We were really tensed, because of the school we came up against, and at the end of the day, we were happy that we came out tops.
Olatunji: That was when we won.
How did you feel beating a Nigerian university in the semi finals?
Nwachukwu: It just shows that Nigeria students have the potentials. It wasn’t easy facing the University of Lagos, who had also proved to be a strong contender throughout the competition, but it wasn’t our toughest game either.
Olatunji: There was pressure from the first game to the last; the pressure during the final game was not different, because from the beginning, it was a knockout competition.
But nobody was expecting a first entrant into the competition to do so well?
Nwachukwu: Well, even the Jews asked if anything good could come out of Nazareth. University rating aside, UI boasts of the best researchers and lecturers to have come out of Africa and we have lots of intelligent students too. We have always had the chance right from the start.
How did the university community receive you on your return with the trophy?
Olatunji: There was no reception at all. There has been no official reception since we returned. Maybe because of the general strike by the university unions.
Do you see UI retaining the trophy next year?
Nwachukwu: Anything can happen and there is always the possibility. We have a crop of bright and intelligent students and not forgetting the invaluable experience of the coach of the team, Mr. Demola Lewis.
Will winning this competition change UI’s rating?
Olatunji: No, I don’t think U.I. should be rated ahead of whichever institution is ahead of them, because nothing has change. The fact that we won has not changed anything, I think the university should work on itself, or the government work on the university.
Your word to students?
Shittu: Whatever you know how to do, just do it well. You never can tell when it would be needed. My advice is that they should nurture their mind, read widely, be studious and focused on whatever they are doing; you never can tell where it will take you.
MEANWHILE, Mr. Ademola Lewis, a lecturer in the department of Linguistics and African Languages, has said that test for interested students who will like to represent the institution will hold soon.
Question over handling of IT students stipend in UNILAG
By KAYODE PETERS
sTUDENTS in the University of Lagos’ faculties of Engineering, Science and Business Administration are required to undergo industrial attachment for a six-month period as part of requirements for obtaining the Bachelor’s degree.
The scheme is coordinated by the Central Industrial Liaison and Placement Unit (CILPU), which is the unit in charge of Industrial Training programme ofthe school.
For this, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) grants a stipend of N2,500 per month to the students, which they are to collect at the end of the training period, via their various institutions’ coordinating body (CILPU, in the case of UNILAG), as a lump sum of N15,000.
In very many schools such as Lagos State University (LASU), Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), the stipend is paid immediately the student submits his/her logbook to the institution.
However, in the case of UNILAG, some of th students have alleged that the CILPU does not pay the stipend until about four or five years after the student would have finished his/her training (i.e. three or four years after graduation).
The students that did their IT in 2004 just collected their stipend this year, after much stress.
The excuse usually given to the students is that, the money had not been released by the ITF.
Some of the students are however, wondering why the case of UNILAG is different from that of other schools. “Afterall, it is it the same ITF that is responsible for these other schools?”, said one of the students.
Some of the students alleged that they believe that the some officers of the CILPU often kept the money so received from the ITF in fixed deposit accounts, so it could generate interests for their personal use. And that the stipend is often paid to the students from the accruing interests.
This, thus, explains the delay in paying the students, years after the completion of their training. The unit makes no announcement to that effect even when the stipend is finally due for payment. Thus about 90 per cent of the concerned students do not get their money.