No fewer than 19,323 candidates have applied for the 2019/2020 overseas M.Sc and PhD programmes of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), the agency has said.

In a statement in Abuja on Thursday, the Head, Media and External Affairs of the fund, Mr Kalu Otisi, said: “The total number of applications received for 2019/2020 academic year for overseas masters’ and PhD programmes is 19,323.

“The over 19,000 applicants will be jostling for less than 500 slots given on the average by the PTDF.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that between 2007 and 2013, 2,417 masters’ degree and 642 doctoral degree students benefited from the organisation’s overseas programmes, giving an average of 437.

“In the 2016/2017 oversees scholarship scheme, 175 MSc and 80 PhD candidates benefited from the programme,” Otisi said.

For the 2019 application, he said: ”For MSc Overseas Scholarship Scheme, we received 15,822, while for PhD Overseas Scholarship Scheme we received 3, 501.”

The physical and oral interviews for the candidates, he said, would start on Monday, April 29 and end on May 10, 2019.

Otisi said PTDF had arranged different venues for the selection interview in the six geo-political zones.

He said the interview for candidates in the South-south zone would be at the University of Port Harcourt, while candidates in the South-west zone would be interviewed at the University of Ibadan.

Candidates from the North-central zone will be interviewed at PTDF Tower, Opposite Yar’adua Centre, Central Business District, Abuja, and those from the South-east zone will be interviewed at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nsukka, Otisi said.

He added that candidates from the North-east zone would be interviewed at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, while those from of North-west would be interviewed at the Kaduna State University.

The fund on November 28, 2018, opened its portal for application by qualified candidates for the overseas MSc and PhD programmes and closed it after six weeks.

The PTDF overseas scholarship scheme has over the years trained professionals in engineering, geology, environmental studies and renewable energy, among others, to service the oil and gas sector of the economy.

A total of 4,816 Nigerians have benefitted from the programme with 1,449 scholars undertaking PhD programmes and 3,367 scholars benefiting from the MSc programme. (NAN)

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