AUTHORITIES of the Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo in Ebonyi State and the government of France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on joint scholarship programme for postgraduate studies.
The vice chancellor of the university, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba, made the disclosure at the weekend while addressing ‘young academics’ of the institution on the need to take advantage of the partnership to obtain their master and doctoral degrees in acclaimed French universities.
“True academics are only those who are irrevocably committed to production-driven research geared towards providing solutions to many challenges facing society,” he reiterated.
He explained that the ‘FUNAI/FRANCO Joint Scholarship Partnership programme’ is an opportunity for every academic in the university to gain international exposure in the area of their research interest, adding that learning French language in the process would also make them bilingual, which would be an added advantage in the present globalized economy.
Professor Nwajiuba stressed that for FUNAI to actualise its vision of world-class status, academics should strive to be proficient and master a second language like French, German and Chinese, which he said would make them access research grants for their doctoral, post-doctoral and fellowship programmes from different universities around the world.
Earlier in his contribution, the French ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Denys Gauer, noted that Nigeria and France have had a long and fruitful history of partnerships, and pledged to continue promoting the bilateral ties through their embassy and other agencies in the country.
“Having taken a cursory look at the vision and academic activities of the university under the leadership of Professor Nwajiuba, the French government has agreed to collaborate with the Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo in training its young academics to acquire their master and doctoral degrees in French universities.”
“This will eventually metamorphose into exchange programme where FUNAI and France might be swapping academics in order to promote their cultures and technologies.”
In a related development, arrangements have been concluded to kick-start a 20-week intensive French language training programme in the university starting from October, 2016 to enable intending scholars gain French Proficiency Certificate.
The Programme Coordinator of Campus-France, Abuja, Miss SarammeComel, said this is the usual practice before the researchers depart for their studies in France.
She said that arrangements are already in place to ensure hitch-free academic works for interested and selected academics in France.
The FRANCO/FUNAI Joint Scholarship Programme is a tripartite agreement between the government of France, Alliance Francais and FUNAI, where the French government is expected to provide free tuition, health insurance and visa for the students, while the FUNAI is expected to offset costs of students’ accommodation, air ticket and feeding.