A total of 4, 989 candidates were shortlisted to participate in the Aptitude Test for the 2017/18 PTDF Overseas and Local (MSc) Scholarship award. The E-Test which was conducted in the six geo-political zones had 1, 687 candidates shortlisted in the North Central zone which held in Abuja. Lagos centre for the South West, had 1343 shortlisted candidates, 986 for the South South zone conducted in Port Harcourt, 557 for the North West conducted in Kaduna, 235 for the North East conducted in Bauchi, and 141 for South East zone conducted in Enugu.
To ensure compliance with the Federal Character principle, the examinations were monitored by a representative of the Federal Character Commission in all the centres.
PTDF Executive Secretary, Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau, during his inspection of the Abuja centre expressed delight with the smooth conduct of the test “my impression is that things are going very well, the exams are taking place simultaneously and there is no cause for alarm, as you can see the first batch are almost rounding up and the next batch is set.” He said that PTDF also gives special consideration to gender and oil producing states.
The aptitude test is part of the process for the award of the PTDF prestigious Scholarship at the Masters level. The process starts with the purchase of scratch cards for accessing the online application and screening of candidates for the aptitude test. Study areas were identified through a skills gap audit conducted by the Fund to ensure that PTDF trains scholars that will fit into identified skills deficiencies in the sector.
“The oil and gas industry is a value chain, and based on the skills gap audit usually carried out by the Fund we give preference to deficits in our selection of study areas” said PTDF Executive Secretary.
Commenting on the PTDF Scholarship Award process and the role of the Federal Character Commission, a Commissioner, Barr. M. T.Alakayi, had this to say“it is a rule of the Federal Character Commission that the agency should advertise, and this was done. Secondly, the advert is expected to run for 6 weeks to give every interested candidate opportunity to apply. After the expiration of the advert, Federal Character Commission ensures that the Agency harness all applications and processes them based on the guiding rules set by the Agency. Federal Character also agrees with the set date for the examination and ensures that all those who have applied and complied to the guiding rules set by the Agency were contacted for the aptitude test. This is the stage we are right now, there are other stage or stages that will follow after this exercise.”
The Chief Executive Officer of FlexiSAF the IT service provider for the aptitude test Mr. Faiz Bashir said that there were no technical issues in all the centres. “You know exams like this are highly confidential, the questions come from PTDF themselves, our role is to provide the platforms and set up everything. We provide the necessary support for the exams. Really there have been no serious challenge and the reports we have been getting from other centres have been quite impressive. There hasn’t been any major challenge.”
Some of the candidates who participated in the exams also spoke, on the conduct. Igbokwe Rachael from Abia state who applied to study MSc Health, Safety and Environment said, “the exam was well conducted and it was fine.”
Mohammed Kabir Yusuf from Kano State applied for MSc Petroleum Engineering “I came across the scholarship online and I applied and was shortlisted for the exam. I thought the exam will be so hard and difficult but it was okay because it is what we studied that we got. Initially when I entered the hall, there was an error with my computer but when it was fixed, it all went well.”
Another candidate from Delta state, Mr. David TayoOtigwa who applied for MSc Health and Environmenta safety said the examination was peaceful and very orderly. “I applied and by the grace of God was shortlisted for the test. I just concluded my test now, I want to say it was okay. It was peaceful, very orderly, no case of exam malpractices during the time I spent in there. The officials were diligent in doing their work to ensure that the exams have been orderly. There was initially power failure on three occasions but they were able to restore it.”
Mohammed OlayinkaOlufemi from Osun State, a beneficiary of the PTDF LSS undergraduate scholarship from the University of Port Harcourt applied to study MSc. Gas Engineering “I expected the questions, I think I did my best. The questions in environment and management were okay though some people had some issues with one or two questions. I also had one question that was not Complete which was noted by the invigilators. Apart from that, it was okay.”
MrsLawanFati seeking to study MSc. Oil and Gas Management said “the set up was perfect, we thank the organisers for their effort in making everyone participate in this exercise. I could see a lot of ladies and people from different geo-political zones.”
THE FOUNDATION OF PTDF SHOLARSHIP SCHEME
The establishment of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund by the Federal Government was a response to the failure of international oil companies to transfer knowledge, skills and technology to Nigerians after years of oil and gas exploration in Nigeria. The increasing capital flight coupled with little linkage between the economy and the oil and gas industry made it more imperative for the Federal Government to step in and take effective control of capacity building in the petroleum sector. The goal was to produce well-trained Nigerians that would take over the roles that were being played by expatriates in the oil and gas industry, thus ensuring the effective deployment of Nigerian professionals in the management and operational segments of the industry. The establishment of PTDF in 1973, was therefore the first major step by the Federal Government at institutionalizing the policy of local manpower development for the oil and gas industry.
PTDF has made heavy investments in its indigenous capacity building programmes over the years with corresponding significant results. Based on industry skills gap audit, thousands of Nigerians have been trained in world class institutions. PTDF Overseas and Local Scholarship Schemes have over the years succeeded in producing well trained, competent and skilled professional manpower for the various segments of the oil and gas industry.
For the Overseas Scholarship Scheme, the fields of training include Engineering, Geology, Environmental Studies, Sciences, Management, Law, Accounting, Renewable Energy, Information Technology and offshore related courses at MSc and PhD levels.
Twenty-five (25) Nigerian Universities are involved in the Local Scholarship Scheme which has the objective of educating Nigerians in oil and gas related fields at undergraduate, Masters and PhD levels in-country.
A total of 5,024 Nigerians have so far benefited from PTDF scholarship schemes.
Good luck to our aspiring scholars.
Kalu Otisi Esq.
Head, Press and External Relations