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Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State Approves Bursary Payment
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Delta Scholarship Board 2023 Report And Oborevwori’s Human Capital Development Story

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By Monday Uwagwu

Recently in Asaba, the state capital, the Delta State Scholarship Board unfolded data on its operation for the 2022/2023 academic year.
Going by the data released in the press release issued on its behalf by its Executive Secretary, Dr. Godfrey Enita, a total of 30, 116 students of the state origin, drawn from 195 schools in Nigeria, benefited from the Student Special Assistance Scheme, otherwise called bursary, for the year.

The figure of the beneficiaries is sieved from the total number of applicants which tallied at  42, 269.

Enita, in unfolding the figures, gave special credit to the Governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, whose magnanimity enabled the board to access the funds with which it carried out its operations that capped in the assistance to the 30,000 odd successful applicants.

Going by the figures put out by Dr. Enita, a school-by-school analysis of the beneficiaries showed that the Delta State University, DELSU, Abraka, which is the oldest of the four state-owned universities, led on the overall performers’ score sheet, with 8, 330 successful applicants, followed by the University of Benin , UNIBEN,  which had 3, 650 successful applicants and the Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe-Oghara, which recorded 2, 686 beneficiaries.
The applicants/ benefiting students were drawn from   195 public universities, polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Schools of Nursing , Schools of Midwifery; School of Health Technology, monotechnics and private universities and polytechnics. To be successful,  applicants must be Deltans, be 200 level students and have a National Identification Number(NIN) and score at least 2.2 on the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).

The rest, as it is often said, is history.

The  2022/2023 annual performance report card of the board,(an agency of the state government) as presented by Dr. Enita, is significant in multiple ways, and in far more ways than one, point, stoically, to the direction in which the administration, now under the watch of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, intends to lead the state,going forward.

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The first element of interest and significance of the report card relates to the tally of both the applicants (42, 269) and the eventual beneficiaries (30,116). Even though the tally of applicants and beneficiaries in the previous years  could not readily be accessed from Enita’s data, there is no doubt that both figures ( of both beneficiaries and applicants)are on their  own, quite impressive, if not actually humongous.  The impressiveness of both figures  simultaneously confirm  multiple things; the vibrancy of the formal tertiary education sector in the state as part of the overall potency of the entire education industry; the generic interest of applicants/beneficiaries in the scheme, which also attests to their faith in the integrity of the agency and its processes, as well as the commitment of the state government, which, aside its other mounting obligations, could afford to support such a huge number of indigenes in search of the golden fleece. This is alluring, to put it mild.

Closely related to the above is the fact inherent in the huge sum of money committed to the scheme by the administration of Oborevwori.  By putting in more than  N.7billion into the scheme for an academic year in which it was not fully in office and hence in charge, the government has demonstrated its faith in continuity and the strategic relevance of effective formal higher education as the core investment and propeller in the drive for the production of the manpower,( required both in terms of number and quality), for the sustainable development of the state. The vision inherent in this investment is enchanting, to say the least.

One other point of interest and  significance  of the performance report is the broad spectrum which the  tally of applicants/beneficiaries presents: It is instructive, and even pertinent, to point out here that, unlike what obtains in most other states of the country, the list of applicants and beneficiaries covers virtually every segment of the higher education sector in the state-universities, polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Schools of Nursing and Midwifery as well as monotechnics. This wide spectrum of coverage has just one noble aim-to actively promote tertiary education across a wide range of schools, and, arising therefrom, to ensure the sustainable production of a pool of truly competent manpower required for the enduring wholesome development of the state.
The philosophy behind this speaks to the long-term vision of the administration with due slant on two critical factors-the sustainable development of the state and the critical role of a pool of truly effectively educated youths in that direction.
In a way, the real strategic import of this is that, sustained over a reasonable spell of time(and there is little doubt that this administration would so do), the ready availability of this pool of skilled manpower means that the state will  not only attain the desirable goal of autarky (self-sufficiency) with regard to its development manpower needs, but also have a glut for possible ‘export’ to other areas of need, within and without the Nigerian shores, for reasonable returns on investment. In these days of enhanced capitalism and the related slant on quality manpower as the single most vital export of any society, the wisdom in this decision of the Oborevwori government is self- evident.

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Yet, there is another reason that makes the report a matter of great public interest-the inclusion of the beneficiaries to include students of private universities and polytechnics. This novel introduction is revolutionary in multiple ways, and depicts, in legion ways, the commitment of the state government, under the watch of Oborevwori, to exponentially expand the scope of beneficiaries, seeing that the even though they attend private higher schools, they have the same right to government’s s support as other Deltans in public schools.This development, no doubt, may have significantly raised the quantum of fund expended by the board on behalf of the state government, on the scheme.
However, the import of the move, without an iota of doubt, is far nobler; it speaks to the premium the administration places on the wellbeing of the citizenry over the discomfort inherent in the extra funds it  committed to paying the beneficiaries in private schools.

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There is equally a motivational angle to the import of the report; by helping out with the assistance, the government has spoken volumes, by way of prompt positive action,  of its great interest in motivation, which, as Development Economists say, is a potent instrument for sustainable goal attainment. That is for the students directly impacted.

For parents, the support of the government, by way of assistance, to their wards, is a welcome relief, especially against the backdrop of the stagflating economy, typified by soaring cost of educational inputs and other necessities.
In sheer Economic terms, this reduces the pressure on them and helps them plough their resources to meet some other demands.
In all, the report card of the board bears eloquent testimony to the desire of the state administration, under Oborevwori, to expand the scope of the opportunities for public participation in the single most viable industry in the state- the education sector- for not just the good of the beneficiaries and their parents and guardians, but also the sustainable development of the state, seeing that quality manpower is a major driver of sustainable competitive development of any society, the state inclusive.

This is the dream of the government and it is part of  the breast plate of its decision to open a campus of DELSU at Orerokpe.

Uwagwu is the retired General Manager of the Delta Printing and Publishing Company Limited (DPPCL), publishers of the Pointer Newspapers.

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