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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

MTN votes N124m for scholarships

MTN Nigeria Communications Limited has advanced strategies to dish out 500 scholarships worth about N125 million, to deserving Nigerian undergraduates beginning next academic session.

Corporate Services Executive, at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Akinwale Goodluck, made this disclosure in a chat with newsmen last weekend in Lagos, said this forms part of the N1.5 billion earmarked for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) this year by the telecom operator,.

He also said that by September, the leading Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operator in the country will proclaim the first beneficiaries, who are expected to each receive about N250,000 to support their educational pursuit among other Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools to serve as backup.

“We are in the first instance going to give out 500 scholarships of N250,000 each to deserving Nigerians students,” he declared.

MTN he equally said, plans to give out this scholarship across various disciplines, most especially in the areas that are germane to the needs of the populace.

“So, we are looking at agriculture, engineering medicine and sciences. We also believe that a lot more focus should be giving to the development of our teachers,” he said.

Therefore, more attention would be given to a number of scholarships to people who are reading bachelor in education, that is, mathematics, and sciences.

“If we do not teach the teachers and give them the necessary support, who is going to teach our children? These are some of the initiatives we would be doing in the next two to three months,” he asserted.

Pointing out that MTN would collaborate with the likes of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) among other relevant stakeholders to ensure that the selection process is devoid of confusion or malpractices.

Akinwale said the company would also be intervening in helping the physically challenged Nigerians, through the provision of electronic ray machines for those that are visually challenged and a lot of modern equipment like wheel chairs to help those that are physically challenged, adding that the company hopes to engage in things that would impact people at the point of their needs.

He said the company would spend less time on projects that have no direct impacts on the people.

He noted that the company would be partnering with The Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) in giving some of the scholarships, which would kick start in September this year.

He further said the company hopes to commit the sum of N100million annually to the scholarship scheme, while the dialysis and the mammogram would gulp about N500 million, for the first phase, stressing that the company has earmarked the sum of N1.5 billion for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) this year.

On the schools and university connect projects, Akinwale explained that two things MTN is doing presently is to continue the process and had even identified the problems with the initial roll out.

“So, a lot of the things that we’re doing today are the responsibilities of the state governments. For instance, all the schools that we did the phase one to four, we are putting generators in those schools. But such ought to be the responsibility of the states. We are spending more resources on the training of teachers and I am happy to announce that phase five is starting with three states which are Kano, Kastina and Bayalsa.

General Manager, Corporate Communications MTN Nigeria, Mrs. Funmi Omogbenigun, said the company, currently has no programme for the enhancement of facilities in faculties of engineering departments in higher institutions but the project would be considered as the company makes progress with the scholarship and training programmes for teachers.

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