The British High Commission in Nigeria has offered the prestigious Chevening scholarship for the 2024/2025 academic year to some Persons Living With Disabilities(PWDs).
The gesture according to the commission is to guarantee fairness and equal access to education for all in line with international conventions.
Ms Gill Atkinson, Deputy Commissioner of British High Commission in Nigeria, announced this on Wednesday in Abuja during a presentation to showcase the Chevening Scholarship to some persons with disabilities and putting them through the application process.
Atkinson noted Chevening, is one of the best things done between the UK and Nigeria government to deepen its cooperation especially in the education sector and to foster PWDs inclusion in the society.
“Chevening is designed not to discriminate against any particular group of people but to give them the opportunities to study, meet their passions and bring those skills and experiences that they have discovered and developed back to Nigeria.
“The reason we are doing this is to help Nigeria’s brightest and best take their country forward. We really want to see young Nigerians equipped to move their country forward.
“The inclusion of persons with disabilities into the programmes is a way the UK government shows them that they are just like every other person with great abilities.
“Persons with disabilities cannot be left out because they also have a lot to impact on society which is why the inclusion,”Atkinson said.
Mrs Oluwafunmilayo Ladepo, Chevening Programme Officer in Nigeria, said the inclusion of persons with disability was also aimed at providing Nigeria with the positive impact they will bring to the country.
“We are not giving PWDs only because of their disabilities but because they have the ability that many have overlooked due to their disability.
“We have someone from the previous set who is a Journalist with Visual impairment who completed his Masters program and got an internship with BBC.
“This is because of his ability and intelligence and he will be back after his internship to contribute to the media.
“So this is the basic thing, partnering with Nigeria, to improve Nigeria and also to gain from Nigeria because if we have these people going, we are also having strong people coming back to build Nigeria.
She noted that about forty seven persons with disabilities have benefitted from the programme since 2014 when the UK government started including Persons with Disabilities as beneficiaries.
She also urged as many others to apply for the 2024 session to the UK institutions listed on the Chevening site and ensure that they meet the deadline.
In his remarks, Mr James Lalu, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and Dr Adebayo Adebukola, appreciated the U.K government for including Persons with Disabilities in the programme.
Adebukola said it is an opportunity which would be properly utilised, adding that he looks forward to more Persons with Disabilities benefitting.
“I am very happy for the detailed explanation which will guide Persons with Disabilities through the application process and what to expect in the UK.
“It is also an opportunity to learn from the UK and bring back to Nigeria and build our own country because the UK and other developed countries were built by their own people and not spirits.
“We need people to go there and learn and bring in policies that will help push for more inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the Nigerian society”, Adebukola said.
The event also had Persons with Disabilities who have benefitted from previous Chevening Scholarship share their experiences, and give inspirations to others.
The Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organisations.
The scholarship is worth about £35,000 to £45,000 pounds per scholar which is about thirty five million naira.
The programme which has been in Nigeria since 1984 offers awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential to study for a master’s degree in any subject at any UK university.
The UK Government had earlier awarded 44 Nigerians including Persons with Disabilities in the Chevening 2023/2024 cycle.