2019 ORIENTATION AND AWARDS CEREMONY
In June, we celebrated the successful graduation of 26 candidates who were nominated to various UWC campuses around the world in 2017. On the 1st day in August, the baton was passed down to 17 candidates have been nominated and admitted to UWC campuses around the world.
While speaking at the presentation of certificates to the students who will be resuming school at the 18 campuses of UWC around the world by September, Chairman of the National Council Committee and board guru, Mr. Hakeem Belo-Osagie, who was represented by a trustee Mrs. Taba Peterside noted how exciting it was to be sending off the next set of students which had become a tradition, right from when the chairman was admitted into the UWC in the early 1970s. She added that there are seven scholarships and that three are fully paid for, four partly paid for while the ten other students were on fee-paying basis.
On the selection process, another trustee member of the council, Prof. Isabella Okabue said that yearly the committee is saddled with the responsibility of finding suitable candidates for UWC. According to her, "We select and send the nominations of students to the UWC schools; they review what we have done and either accept or reject the candidates we have chosen but I am glad that in my 19 years of working with the committee, they have never rejected any of our nominations. "It is a rigorous process; we contact and visit schools in order to sensitize them on the existence of this programme. We get in applications from the schools including information to be provided by the principal of these schools and we study them. We also ask candidates to write on why they want to go to a UWC and we take all of that into account and come up with a shortlist. We also invite the shortlisted students for a three-day interview process which includes a general paper, physical activities, initiative tests, giving impromptu speeches and oral interviews."
Prof. Okagbue, however, noted that the UWC introduced the fee-based scholarships following the economic meltdown, and so as not to compromise on merit, adding, "The schools all used to be scholarship-based and each year the schools will write to the national committee telling them how many candidates they want from that country based on the availability of funding. Since some sources of funding dried up over the years, they introduced the fee-paying scheme and so we now have two categories of candidates." Prof. Okagbue also advised the successful students on the life expected of them in their various campuses, "I would like to encourage the candidates not to shy away from the out-door activities; we found out that our Nigerian candidates tend to choose the activities that keep them in-door and I think they will be missing out on a whole lot of things. They need to be adventurous.
Also present at the orientation was the National Treasurer of the Nigerian National Committee UWC; Mrs. Oshuwa Gbadebo-Smith, the Chairperson Information and Welfare Sub-Committee; Mrs. Comfort Coleman and the Programme Coordinator; Miss Timi Aluko. While giving out the awards to each candidates, Prof. Okagbue asked the students to take the pledge as an oath and commitment which would remind them of their heritage and where they are coming from. According to her, "If you want to do something bad, remembering the pledge you have made today; it should keep you on track. You are not just in the school to represent yourselves but also the country. So many people have negative perception about Nigeria; your attitude and conduct can make a change. We are courteous, loyal, honest and tenacious people. Your parents wouldn't be there with you. You should live by the values we stand for as Nigerians".
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