The European Union, EU, Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi, says over 200 young Nigerians are to depart for Europe for the Erasmus+ Mundus Postgraduate Scholarship.
The Ambassador made this known at a news conference on Monday at the EU’s Headquarters in Abuja, to announce the study package.
The envoy added that the students were selected, based on merit, by the 20 universities in the EU countries with no interference with the bloc.
She said the EU offered a postgraduate scholarship to the over 200 young Nigerians in top European universities, under its flagship educational programme, Erasmus+.
Ms Isopi said the programme was for two years, and it would avail the students, opportunity to study in 20 EU countries, adding that, each student would study in three universities out of the 20.
According to her, out of the three countries the students would be studying, two would be in EU countries.
“Each scholarship awardee will, on successful completion of the programme, receive a master’s degree, to be jointly awarded by a consortium of universities, in the framework of the Erasmus Mundus Joint masters programme.
“A key component of the Erasmus+, is that masters programme are of high-level and integrated study programmes at master level, delivered by an international partnership of higher education institutions.
“The studies will run for 12-24 months, and will see each beneficiary studying in universities in at least three different universities in as many countries during the duration of the programme.
“At least two of the countries where each student will study are EU Member States. Many of the scholarship awardees have already departed for Europe to commence their studies.
“The figure represents a steep increase from the number of Nigerians that benefited from the initiative last year.
“It also places Nigeria second, among countries with the highest number of students selected for the prestigious programme in 2022, coming only after Pakistan,’’ she said.
She added that education, youths and women remained a key area of partnership between the EU and Nigeria, adding that, the bloc would increase the potential by increasing more Nigerians.
She said to celebrate the achievement, there would be a special event for the awardees where they would be intimated about the countries they would be visiting.
“The beneficiaries were selected through a rigorous, highly competitive process, and from various academic disciplines. Over 730 Nigerians have benefitted from the master programme since 2004.
“The number of Nigerians selected for the scholarship has quadrupled in the last four years, rising from 44 awardees in 2019; 93 in 2020; 133 in 2021 to the record number of over 200 awardees in 2022.
“From ninth position in 2020 and sixth in 2021, the country now has the second highest number of beneficiaries globally, leaving behind countries like Bangladesh, Brazil, India and Mexico in the top bracket of countries with most awardees.
“The Erasmus+ programme is an example of the great cooperation we have with Nigeria, and reflects the EU’s commitment to widening the space and increasing opportunities for young Nigerians to actualise their dreams and play their role in contributing to the development of their country,’’ she said.
The flagship programme represents one of the Europe’s most tangible achievements: uniting people and creating a European sense of belonging and solidarity through life-changing learning experiences.
With the launch of a new Erasmus+ programme for the period 2021-2027, there is a further increase in the opportunities provided for mobility and cooperation with partner countries beyond Europe.
Findings showed that the new Erasmus+ programme has an estimated budget of 26.2 billion euros, and this is nearly double the funding, compared to its predecessor programme (2014-2020).
70 per cent of the budget will support mobility opportunities for students and staff of higher education institutions.