Categories
Africa culture/tradition education Nature

Excursion: Coke with Primates

An excursion it was to the Songhai Zoological Garden, Owerri, Nigeria.

The weather was mild and sunny. Our bus rode through the dusty hills leading to the garden. The dust followed the bus for miles. Now those hills stood ageless like a wallpaper surrounded by green forests. I can still picture it all.

On the entrance to the Zoological garden I heard the growls and cries of different animals. My excitement knew no bounds for I was a wildlife lover.

A ranger picked us from the truck as we alighted. After introductions he took us around the Farm. It took a while before we proceeded to the first cage at the Zoological garden. The first animal we saw was the spotted Hyena. I remember the sign showing his Zoological name as “Crocuta Crocuta”. And there it stood staring at us. I won’t be tutored much about this exotic creature- with red glowing eyes and those ferocious tattoo-like looks it could pass for a demon. We moved on to the next cage and there was some fine peacocks. Each trying to display her feather. The next cage held an African Python. The skin designed with black, red and white stripes. We walked around his cage, listening as the snake hissed. We saw wild pigs and Nile crocodiles. There was the African Civet, Giant Rats, West African Dwarf Crocodiles, all kinds of rodents, different bird species like the Crown Bird and Ostriches.

The sight that amazed me most was the different species of monkeys that the garden kept; Baboons, Chimps, Rhesus and other smaller monkeys. It was a place to be and I really enjoyed the coke.

There are many farms, Zoological/Botanical gardens, parks and resorts in West Africa. If you will be visiting West Africa, don’t forget to check one out.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education

Leadership: Is Education really worth it?

I debated myself on the relevance of education in Africa.

So I am going to weigh my thoughts on a pendulum. Say the pendulum swung to yes, then I wonder why we have educated Africans who make little or no effort in enhancing the social and economic well-being of the continent. I wonder why people with academic zeal are not supported or encouraged to be their best selves and I wonder when top political leadership in Africa will be a function of the educated class.

It’s unfortunate that this continent with abundant human and material resources, arable land and sunshine offer very little in terms of economic, infrastructural, social and human index development. Currently, African countries record as some of the World’s poorest countries with high infant mortality rate, high unemployment and inflation rates, civil unrest and more. While Africa is endowed her leaders can’t manage her endowment efficiently.

Graduates leave school with high hopes (one may have struggled to graduate through economic hardships). Then comes the government(s) with no visible plan(s) to assimilate these graduates into the workforce. So is education really relevant for the African youth?

When the desirable is not available the available becomes desirable. Most of Africa’s graduates seek ready jobs. Few wish to start up businesses or entrepreneurial ventures. Even these few may be constrained by factors such as unavailability of start-up capital. In search for jobs graduates even lose the reason why they attended school in the first place. Can you imagine a Law or Finance graduate teaching Government or Mathematics in classrooms? Also as unemployment persists, graduates resort to many vices to make ends meet. Crime rates (internet scams, kidnapping, robbery, drug dealing etc) are on the high. Unemployment contributed to this.

When I made mention of political leadership, I intended to draw attention to this: while economic and social leadership are in the hands of the educated, political leadership still remain in the hands of the less educated. It is from these hands that signatures and affairs concerning the welfare of the state emanate. A blind man can’t lead a blind man.

Sometimes I think education is not doing much for the African youth. To get things working fine, we have to start from our political leadership. Every leader who won’t make education a priority, should not be allowed to lead.

Categories
Africa education

Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships 2020

Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships are for candidates from low and middle income Commonwealth countries, to undertake full-time taught Master’s study at a UK university.

Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are aimed at those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK. These scholarships are offered under six themes:

  1. Science and technology for development
  2. Strengthening health systems and capacity
  3. Promoting global prosperity
  4. Strengthening global peace, security and governance
  5. Strengthening resilience and response to crises
  6. Access, inclusion and opportunity

Information on other scholarships offered by the CSC

Eligibility
Terms and conditions
Selection process
How to apply
Choosing a university/course
Enquiries

Eligibility

To apply for these scholarships, you must:

  • Be a citizen of or have been granted refugee status by an eligible Commonwealth country, or be a British Protected Person
  • Be permanently resident in an eligible Commonwealth country
  • Be available to start your academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September/October 2020
  • By September 2020, hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honours standard, or a second class degree (2:2) and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree). The CSC would not normally fund a second UK Master’s degree. If you are applying for a second UK Master’s degree, you will need to provide justification as to why you wish to undertake this study
  • Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship
  • Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format

The CSC aims to identify talented individuals who have the potential to make change. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination, and encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates. For further information on the support available to candidates with a disability, see the CSC disability support statement.

The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships in a fair and transparent manner. For further information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy and the DFID guidance on reporting fraud.

Eligible Commonwealth countries

Antigua and Barbuda
Bangladesh
Belize
Botswana
Cameroon
Dominica
Eswatini
Fiji
The Gambia
Ghana
Grenada
Guyana
India
Jamaica
Kenya
Kiribati
Lesotho
Malawi
Malaysia
Mauritius
Montserrat
Mozambique
Namibia
Nauru
Nigeria
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Rwanda
Samoa
Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Sri Lanka
St Helena
St Lucia
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Tanzania
Tonga
Tuvalu
Uganda
Vanuatu
Zambia

Terms and conditions

For full terms and conditions – including further details of the scholarship themes, tenure and placement, value of the scholarship, and general conditions – see the Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships 2020 terms and conditions

You should apply to study at a UK university which has a part funding agreement with the CSC. View a full list of UK universities with part funding agreements

Selection process

Each year, the CSC invites selected nominating bodies to submit a specific number of nominations. The deadline for nominating bodies to submit nominations to the CSC is 18 December 2019

The CSC invites around three times more nominations than scholarships available – therefore, nominated candidates are not guaranteed to be awarded a scholarship. There are no quotas for scholarships for any individual country. Candidates nominated by national nominating agencies are in competition with those nominated by other nominating bodies, and the same standards will be applied to applications made through either channel.

Applications will be considered according to the following selection criteria:

  • Academic merit of the candidate
  • Quality of the plan of study
  • Potential impact on the development of the candidate’s home country

For further details, see the Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships 2020 selection criteria

How to apply

You must apply to one of the following nominating bodies in the first instance – the CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships:

All applications must be made through one of these nominating bodies. Each nominating body is responsible for its own selection process and may have additional eligibility criteria. You must check with your nominating body for their specific advice and rules for applying, their own eligibility criteria, and their own closing date for applications.

You must make your application using the CSC’s online application system, in addition to any other application that you are required to complete by your nominating body. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the online application system.

All applications must be submitted by 16:00 (GMT) on 30 October 2019 at the latest.

You are advised to complete and submit your application as soon as possible, as the online application system will be very busy in the days leading up to the application deadline.

Your application must include the following supporting documentation by 16:00 (GMT) on 20 November 2019 in order for your application to be eligible for consideration:

  • Proof of citizenship or refugee status – uploaded to the online application system
  • Full transcripts detailing all your higher education qualifications including to-date transcripts for any qualifications you are currently studying (with certified translations if not in English) – uploaded to the online application system
  • References from at least two individuals – submitted directly by the referees to the online application system (referees will be sent an email request)
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that your referees are able to complete the references by the deadline and that they receive the reference requests.

    The CSC will not accept supporting documentation submitted by nominating agencies or outside the online application system.

    You can view the application form document before you start your online application form.

    You can access the online application system now.

    Please note that the CSC does not charge candidates to apply for any of its scholarships or fellowships through its online application system, and it does not charge organisations to nominate candidates.

    Choosing a university/course

    You may find the following resources useful when researching your choices of institution and course of study in the UK:

    • Study UK – British Council website, with guidance for international students and a course and institution search
    • Steps to Postgraduate Study – a guide to asking the right questions about taught postgraduate study in the UK
    • Postgrad.com – information for postgraduate students, with a course search
    • Prospects – information on postgraduate study in the UK
    • Research Excellent Framework 2014 results – results of a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions
    • UCAS Postgraduate – guidance on how to find and apply for a postgraduate course
    • Unistats – the official website for comparing UK higher education course data
    • UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) – advice for international students on choosing a course of study

    The CSC is not responsible for the content of external sites.