No fewer than 943 first class graduates from different universities across the country, on Monday, sat for an examination for the 2014 Presidential Special Scholarship for Innovation and Development (PRESSID).

The raw numbers of graduates who are jostling for the Jonathan’s scholarship is a total of 943 first class graduates.

The scholarship scheme, initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan three years ago, is being coordinated by the National Universities Commission (NUC), aimed at training critical mass of professionals to serve as catalysts of change for scientific and technological development.

A member of the scholarship implementation committee, Professor Olurotimi Tayo, who supervised the conduct of the examination in Abuja, disclosed that 943 first class graduates who were screened from over 2,000 who applied for the aptitude test participated on Monday.

He, however, said only 100 successful candidates would be sent to 25 top universities in the world for their masters programmes.

The Federal Government has so far, awarded the special scholarship to about 205 students for 2012/2013 and 2014/2015 sessions based on merit.

Tayo, said: “We screened those who applied and invited 943 students for the aptitude test. People applied online but you can be sure that by the time we invited 943 students, then those who applied were more than 2000.

“The idea is to train critical mass of people who would be able to innovate and develop the economy of Nigeria, he said

According to the coordinator of the examination, Dr Joshua Attah, the examination took place concurrently in London and some hours later in Washington DC, United States of America (USA)

While responding to question on marginalisation of certain geo-political zone in the distribution of the scholarship, he noted that the scholarship was based on merit regardless of where the beneficiaries come from.

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