Peter Amromanoh, Executive Secretary, Delta State Scholarship Board, says the introduction of e-bursary has eliminated fraud in the system. He was interviewed by Adekunbi Ero, executive editor; Tony Manuaka, senior associate editor and Folashade Adebayo, senior writer. Excerpts
The Bursary and Scholarship Board is an important part of the Delta State government programme on education. What are the different categories and the packages?
We have a number of Scholarship schemes because of the education-friendly government that we have. Like the law students’ scholarship, we used to give them N50,000 to assist them in the Law School. But two years ago, the government increased it to N100,000. Then, for the overseas scholarship, government gives N3 million to pursue a master’s degree. If you want to go for PhD, it is N3 million for each year. Then for the first class scholarship, it is N5 million to start your master’s. Then N5 million for each year of your PhD programme. And it is automatic. For the first class scholarship, we had 16 of them that benefitted in 2009. In 2010, we had 36 beneficiaries. In 2011, we had 52 of them. In 2012, we had 93 beneficiaries. This year, we are expecting 184 beneficiaries.
Does the scheme cover all universities in the country?
Any university at all, private, public or overseas; anywhere you had the first class, so long as it is verified that is it a recognised university and you are a Deltan. We couldn’t engage in the scheme last year for one reason or the other. We also had the aviation scholarship we introduced last year. Now that we have an airport, we want to see our students in the cockpit from time to time. Last year we had 18 beneficiaries and this year, we have given scholarship to 36 of them. And the value of that scheme for 10 pilots is N5 million.
How do you ensure transparency especially in the area of bursary awards?
Before now, they looked at bursary as evil forest. And that is why His Excellency, about four years ago, brought this particular management team on board. They were using a manual process. So when we observed what went along with it, we had to change to e-bursary. With the e-bursary, we were able to remove so many people from the bursary payroll. You can imagine if you have almost 3,000 students that were smuggled into the payroll of the bursary scheme. This year, we started working in collaboration with JAMB. Once you want to log on to our site, you do it with your JAMB registration number. And once you do that, it shows your data, your school and all. With that, we have been able to get at least near zero tolerance.
Is it possible to put a figure to what government has spent so far on these schemes?
But like I said, government expended N514 million in the 2009/2010 bursary. In 2010/2011 it was N585 million. For 2011/2012, it was N610 million. This is 2012/2013, it is about N650 million. For Law students, N52 million was expended in 2010/2011, N88 million in 2011/2012 and N41 million in 2012/2013. For children of deceased civil servants, N15 million was expended in the first year and N17 million in the following year. Then you have N29 million in 2011/2012 and another N29 million in 2012/2013. In Aviation we have spent N96 million in 2011/2012. Overseas scholarship, we spent N54 million in the first year, N99 million in the second year and we are spending N147 million this year. For First Class, N193 million was expended initially, N269 million the following year; N476 million in 2011/2012 and this year, we are spending N1.05 billion. For local scholarship, we spent N99 million initially, N73 million subsequently.
‘With the e-bursary, we were able to remove so many people from the bursary payroll… We have been able to get at least near zero tolerance’