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Why we provide scholarships for young Nigerians seeking overseas education

President of i-Scholar initiative (iSI), a non-governmental organisation, Victor Ogunmola, has declared that the initiative will continue to support the continued growth of young Nigerians pursuing overseas education.

Ogunmola, whose organisation has so far provided 255 scholarships to young Nigerians in their quest for overseas graduate education, said the organisation projects to support at least 1,000 youths passionate about their career by the year 2030.

Ogunmola stated this during a meet-and-greet event organised by the initiative in Lagos for 33 graduate scholars from different Nigerian universities who have secured placement and funding in foreign universities. The gathering also had in attendance some members of the board of trustees, management committee and partners for the initiative.

According to iSI, over 40 scholars from its 2023 cohort have already secured fully funded graduate programmes at various world class universities.

Narrating his journey in life, Ogunmola who is trained as a Geoscientist at the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom, recalled how as a young student he was able to maximise international opportunities. 

While speaking to the scholars, Ogunmola said: “It is important to leverage on the available opportunities offered by iSI as a community. In this community, we look after ourselves. We are our brother’s keeper. Please don’t keep to yourself. 

“Powered by the generosity of our partners and teaming volunteers, this is an efficiently-run organisation. Please don’t be distracted. In your area of career interest or study, we have people with relevant experience within the iSI community that can provide you with the needed assistance in your admission process and graduate programmes. You need to start orientating yourself. You need to collaborate more with other equally self-driven scholars. 

“We have a vision to have awarded 1,000 plus scholarships by the year 2030. Since 2019, our focus has primarily been in Nigeria, achieving an impressive 5x growth in sponsorships within the first four years.

“With an investment of about $160,000, we’ve sponsored over 255 scholars, accessing scholarships totaling over $30 million. We need to build more capacities to support our continued growth. We will need more mentors, financial donors, and application reviewers. As I-Scholars, you are part of a community that is passionate about your career.”

Speaking on the initiative’s scholarships, he noted that: “Our scholarship provides an end-to-end mentorship, covers the cost of standardised tests that are required by foreign universities to qualify for their funded graduate school admissions. iSI also pays a predetermined amount for graduate school application fees for all scholarship awardees.”

i-SI provides scholarships for young Nigerians seeking overseas education
i-SI provides scholarships for young Nigerians seeking overseas education

Admonishing the scholars, one of the board members who is a banker and professional coach, Mrs Titilayo Olujobi, said: “Appreciate what i-Scholar Initiative is doing and replicate what the initiative is doing. Many of you never thought you’d have this opportunity. 

“The donors in this initiative are commiting their time, finances, and also investing because they believe in you. She urged them to pay it forward. Any assignment you’ve chosen to be part of, do it diligently.”

Also, an engineer and a coach for the initiative on international opportunities, Mrs Iyabode Attah, advised the scholars to be self-motivated, confident and passionate while seeking foreign opportunities to advance their careers.

Attah, an iSI board member, urged the scholars to be prepared for challenges as they move to the next phase of life.

The beneficiaries, in their separate remarks, thanked the iSI for access to international opportunities while assuring to make judicious use of the opportunities.

A graduate of Economics from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Chibuzor Obi, said: “I-Scholar is a vibrant community of talented young people who are passionate about the success of African students. 

“I see it as a pipeline to build and nurture talents interested in pursuing advanced education in the diaspora. I especially like the fact that the organisation doesn’t leave you once you begin graduate school, they’re there every step of the way.

“I am proud to be part of the movement and I am enthusiastic about giving back in ways that will expand the organisation’s footprint. I look forward to international opportunities that will help me meet and connect with other young talents like me committed to shaping the future of education in Africa.”

Another graduate of Industrial Chemistry from Redeemer’s University, Lese Esther, said: “iSI is a wonderful platform that gave me a crucial boost of confidence during this application process.”

A Lagos State University graduate, Adekola Oluwaseun Oluwafemi, who recently got admitted to University of Illinois, Chicago, USA (fully funded PhD program in Electrical and Computer Engineering) said: “iSI’s level of commitment and dedication to ensuring that Nigerian graduates become successful is indeed incomparable. I’m grateful to God, to the i-Scholar Initiative, to the Board of Trustees (BoT), and to all iSI partners for their financial support and mentorship given to each of us. 

“The all-round support is immense and of great benefit to myself and other selected scholars. Being one of the selected winners of the iSI scholarship award 2023 edition remains one of the best things that have happened to me between 2023 and 2024. 

“From the standardised test fee sponsorship, graduate school application fee sponsorship, and end-to-end mentorship from the iSI family, all these saw me through my admission into my graduate school and program of choice.”


This article was originally published in the Tribune Online, a Nigerian national daily newspaper.

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