Stakeholders of the various Oil and Gas Industry Scholarship Schemes have been called upon to adopt the use of automated technology as a solution to the problem of awarding multiple Oil and Gas scholarships to a single beneficiary.
Managing Director, Dragnet Solutions Limited, Robert Ikazoboh gave the advice during the “One Awardee, One Award” roundtable discussion organized by the firm for the International Oil Companies (IOC) operating in Nigeria. The event which was recently held in Lagos had in attendance representatives from the various concerned IOCs such as Mobile, Chevron, NAOIC/AGIP, NLNG as well as NAPIMS.
In his keynote presentation titled “One Awardee, One Award”, Ikazoboh bemoaned the popular practice among students where an undergraduate is a beneficiary of multiple scholarships from either the same or similar IOCs scheme, an act which he condemned and described as a “theft of opportunities’. He also noted that if left unchecked, it could give rise to other forms of malpractices.
According to him, a multiple awardee of Oil and Gas Industry based scholarships deprives a countless number of indigent undergraduates who are in dire need of such sponsorship, an equal opportunity to be beneficiaries thus, defeating the intended purpose for the establishment of the scheme by the IOCs.
The Dragnet boss identified the inefficiency of the manual processing method deployed in the verification of candidates’ profiles, absence of a sensitization campaign and strict enforcement among others, as some of the factors responsible for the high prevalence of the act among awardees.
However, Dragnet Solutions-the leading Screening Solutions firm in Nigeria- in response to the need to find a lasting solution to the menace has taken the initiative and developed a centralized portal for scholarship and bursary management called Scholastisca.
The Scholastisca portal builds and stores the profiles of candidates applying to the various Oil and Gas Scholarship Schemes on a database through biometric technology thus ensuring that no candidate has multiple profiles. The hallmark of Scholastisca is that each candidate is given a unique Identification after thus ensuring that an awardee can only benefit from one Oil and Gas scholarship.
While acknowledging that the issue of multiple scholarship is a moral one, the various participants at the event who have at one time or the other been victims of the act, applauded Dragnet Solutions for its innovation which they believe would go a long way in tackling the issue and ensure that as many less privileged students benefit from their Corporate Social Responsibility activity for disadvantaged undergraduates. They however agreed that there is a need to work out the modalities of the proposed solution especially with NAPIMS.
In his closing remarks, Robert Ikazoboh thanked and appreciated the participants for their presence and support but hinted that the success of the initiative is dependent on the collaborative effort among the IOCs.
In a related development, Managing Director, Dragnet Solutions Ltd., Mr. Robert Ikazoboh has reiterated that national development can only be achieved through government’s investment in technology.
Speaking at a media parley recently held in Lagos, he commended the government for its effort so far expended in the deployment of technology towards the attainment of national development but noted that more still needs to be done in order to sustain the pace of development.
“First we must give kudos to the government of the day because the authorities seem to realize the importance of technology. For example, if we look at the National Identification Number (NIN) project being championed by the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC), it is largely technology driven because the process will rely on biometrics.
“And then we have the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board adopting the Computer Based Testing in the 2013 examination which is a first in its history. All of this is good but we believe that we can still do more because technology offers us so much,” he said.
Other areas, according to him, that the government needs to deploy technology for greater efficiency includes the education sector and the recruitment process of the public sector.
“Government should consider adopting E-recruitment especially in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). If we had deployed E-recruitment, we probably wouldn’t have had the recent controversies that trailed the recruitment process in MDAs. Dragnet Solutions has always maintained that the process is better, faster and most importantly, more credible than the manual mode of recruitment.” he said.
In the education sector, the Dragnet boss urged the government to adopt computer based testing in educational institutions across the country. “I’ve said it before that JAMB deserves commendation for adopting the CBT exams. But we shouldn’t just stop there. We are in the technology age and we must begin to familiarize our students with the concept of ICT. The best way to do this is to introduce CBT in our schools especially the secondary and tertiary institutions. Don’t forget that the process also has its advantages because it is more efficient and credible. With CBT, issues like mercenaries will be a thing of the past and it is going to reduce examination malpractice to the barest minimum,” he said.
Dragnet Solutions Limited is Nigeria’s leading people based screening and Computer Based Testing (CBT) solutions firm.