Nigeria-Russia Education Agreement to be reviewed The Federal Scholarship Board (FSB) on Wednesday said the Nigeria-Russia Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) would soon be reviewed.
This is disclosed in a statement issued in Abuja by the Director of Press of the ministry, Mr Agidike Onu. The meeting, according to the statement was held between officials of the board and the International Department of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, in Moscow, Russia.
The statement noted that the leader of the Nigerian team, the Director/Secretary of the FSB, Ms Ifeoma Agunwah, had raised some salient issues.
The issues, Agunwah said had gone against the spirit of the existing BEA between both countries.
The leader of the Nigerian team pointed out that the current scholars were awarded scholarships to study up to Master Degree level.
She however said that the Russia Government had changed its domestic policy that Nigerian scholars might end up with certificates not recognised in Nigeria.
Agunwah added that there a requirement that BEA scholars should pay money to cover accommodation during end of session break.
According to her, the best thing to do in the present circumstance was to have existing scholars to continue with the terms of the BEA that brought them to Russia.
She said that new scholars would come under a reviewed agreement. Responding, leader of the Russian team, Mr Boris Zhelezou explained that the new policy affected both foreign students and Russia nationals.
He said that it was a significant policy shift which required a re-designation of mandate and scope of higher institutions in Russia. Zhelezou explained that he was of the opinion that Nigerian students affected by the policy should first accept a first degree.
On completion of the first degree, he said they could seek admission for Masters Degree in any institutions licenced to award such degrees.
However, he said all issues pertaining to the new policy would be tabled before the Nigerian government while negotiating a new Bilateral Education Agreement.
The statement also said that the Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Mr Assam Assam, commended the board for discharging its duties creditably.
It stated that Assam gave the commendation when he received the delegation from FSB and the officials from Ministry of Education in his office at the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow, Russia.
The statement said the team was in Russia to monitor the progress and welfare of BEA scholars. It also quoted the Ambassador as saying that he had no doubt that the Board was transparent in the selection process of Bilateral Education Agreement scholars.
Assam said that he knew the intricacies of the budgeting process at home and how it affected remittances to the students. He said that he was convinced that the FSB and the ministry were working under difficult circumstances to meet up with the remittance of allowances to the scholars as and when due.
The ambassador suggested that a proposal be made to the government at home to find ways of securing express approval for scholarship funds.
This, he said would ensure that it did not get trapped in annual budgetary rituals. Assam rated the performances of BEA students in Russia high, saying that he had no doubt that they were among the best that competed for places under the BEA Scheme.
Agunwah said that they were also in Russia to have first-hand experience of some of the reports of the scholars that the embassy had filed in the past.
The visiting team earlier met with the executives of the Association of Nigerian Students in Russia. (NAN)
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