The federal government offered over one thousand scholarship slots to Nigerians in 2010, permanent secretary, federal ministry of education, Nicholas Damachi, has said.
According to him, this was part of efforts to bring about the development of a sound and effective citizenry.
Mr Damachi, who stated this at the 23rd annual coordinating committee meeting of secretaries of federal and state scholarship boards on Monday in Abuja, noted that majority of the recipients were indigent.
"Federal Government in 2010 gave scholarship awards to 1,139 deserving students to undertake relevant courses at national and international levels."
The permanent secretary, who was represented at the event by the director in charge of special duties at the ministry, Aaron Renkwar, further disclosed that the federal scholarship board had commenced and was still processing the 2011 scholarship awards and emphasised the need to make indigent students top priority.
"We must be mindful of the fact that there exists in our midst children who might be brilliant but are indigent. Thus the need for government to come to their aid via scholarship award so as to assist them develop their potential without hindrance."
Hindatu Abdullahi, the director of the federal scholarship board, challenged each state scholarship board to upgrade its publicity machinery so that potential beneficiaries could become awardees of the available scholarships.
She disclosed that "the federal government in 2010 pegged the new award for postgraduates at N180,000 while postgraduate and undergraduates of colleges of education and polytechnics are N150,000 and N100,000 respectively."
Also speaking at the occasion, Godwin Ogbaga, the executive secretary, Ebonyi State Scholarship Board, appealed to the federal scholarship board to work closely with the states during the nomination period so as to keep them abreast of the happenings and to avoid people usurping the slots of other states.
He also appealed for early release of funds by the federal government for the bilateral education awardees to minimise their suffering in their host countries.
He emphasised that both federal and state governments should encourage public-private partnership in scholarship delivery so that more people could access scholarships.
Danjuma Jimiko, Secretary FCT Scholarship Board, also at the event, hinted that the federal capital territory scholarship board had in less than one year disbursed scholarship award to 10,084 students at all levels of education in the 2009/2010 award session.
Another set of 23 indigenes of the FCT have been short-listed to attend courses in Maritime degree- awarding institutions in collaboration with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) outside the shores of Nigeria with the administration already committing to the tune of N40 million to enable the students specialise in various marine careers.
While disclosing that the FCT scholarship board's source of funding has remained largely dependent on statutory allocation from the FCT administration through the education secretariat, he hinted that "efforts are being made by the board to source funds from other sources as spelt out in the proposed legal instrument waiting to undergo formalisation by the national assembly".