The Lagos State Scholarship Board on Saturday put 600 students through oral interviews to ascertain their claims of being from the state and eligibility for 2016/2017 local scholarship offered by the government.
Mr Stephen Oshinowo, the Executive Secretary of the board, told newsmen in Lagos that the candidates needed to be interviewed to authenticate their claims of Lagos being their state of origin.
“Out of over 3000 candidates who sat for the computer based test in February 2017, only 600 candidates scored 43 per cent cut-off mark.
“We reduced the cut-off mark to 43 per cent to give more candidates opportunity to benefit from the scholarship. “The candidates must attend the oral interview to substantiate their claim to Lagos,” he said.
Oshinowo said three panelists, selected from the five administrative divisions — Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, Lagos and Epe, were brought in to interview the candidates.
He said that the local scholarship was for exceptionally brilliant students, who have made 3.5 CGPA in their various institutions. “In 2015/2016 session, about 1121 candidates benefited from the exercise.
“Out of the 600 candidates, those that are not recommended will still be dropped because we do not want to exceed what our budget can accommodate,” he said.
According to him, the local scholarship covers undergraduates, Masters and PhD students, who are indigenes of the state. Oshinowo said that the budget for the 2016/2017 scholarship is N265 million.
He said that the state government was aware of the economic downturn and was ready to assist indigenes of the state to pursue their academics.
According to him, the names of the successful candidates after the exercise would be forwarded to the governor for approval and release of funds.
Oshinowo said undergraduates would be awarded N200,000 yearly for the duration of their course, while masters students would receive N300,000 once and PhD students get N400,000 yearly for the duration of their programme.
He, however, said that candidates must maintain 2:1 CGPA throughout their academics to continue to benefit from the scholarship.
Mrs Kudirat Odewale, one of the panelists from Epe division, told NAN that the essence of the oral interview was to ascertain the claim of the candidates, find out their family house and history.
Odewale said that government could not afford to waste resources on people that are not from the state.
She said the interview was mostly conducted in native language and names also play a major role to ascertain place of origin.
“In the past, we have seen students who claimed to be indigenes of the state but could not speak the language or identify their family house.
“Some students go as far as collecting scholarship from two different states; all these we are trying to stop,” she said.
One of the candidates, Miss Maume Hundenu, from Badagry division, commended the state government for setting up the scholarship to help average students, pleading that it be sustained.
“I am satisfied with the interview process; the panelists checked my documents, my family history and ability to speak my native language. “It is not stressful, everything is orderly unlike the previous exercise. “If I get the scholarship, it will help me finance my education and not become a drop-out,” she said.