Mr Alexander Gomes, the Deputy Head of Delegation for the European Union (EU) said on Thursday in Abuja that the bloc invested 26. 2 billion euros in the EU Erasmus+ Pre-Departure Orientation Scholarship programme for Nigerian Master’s degree aspirants.
Gomes, who disclosed this at the EU Erasmus+ Pre-Departure Orientation Scholarship programme for the aspirants, said the programme had been on for 34 years with over 531 Nigerians benefiting from it.
“This is a huge investment because candidates are going as masters of Nigeria and returning as ambassadors of Europe.
“We started with the new one and the allocation for this year is 26.2 billion euros that the EU is willing to provide for a programme like this which is huge.
“We are training 133 to 134 students; the more the better and this can go up due to some technical challenges of some dropping out. But the final figure will be coming in October.
“It’s a huge increase compared to last year when we had 93 people but at the end, 100 people went for the programme,” he said.
He added that the beneficiaries would be going to 20 countries both in Europe and outside, some of which are Turkey, Egypt, and the United Kingdom.
Also speaking, Esme Stuart, the Focal Person for Erasmus+Programme, EU Delegation to Nigeria, said the participation of 133 to 134 was a huge achievement for Nigeria this year.
“But I am happy to say Nigeria is the top country where Erasmus students are coming from in Africa this year.
“Also, Nigeria is among the top six countries across the world together with Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Mexico, Pakistan where most of Erasmus students are coming from.
“We mentioned that the Erasmus modus which is the international component of Erasmus+ started in 2004, there were two Nigerian Erasmus students who received the scholarship back then.
“Since the inception of this programme, 531 Nigerians, including those in this batch, have benefited from the programme,” she said.
According to her, Nigeria was among the top six countries that participated in the porgramme in 2020.
Erasmus+ is a means of strengthening legal and regular migration of young Nigerians to Europe to acquire master’s degree in different fields.
In 2020, more than 90 young Nigerians were awarded the Erasmus+scholarship.
The programme is to help build the skills and capacities of the participants in the programme. (NAN)