The British High Commission in Nigeria has extended the highly competitive Chevening scholarship to some Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs) for the 2024/2025 academic year.

According to The British High Commission, this extension makes sure that everyone has fair and equal access to education in accordance with international conventions. The Deputy Commissioner Ms Gill Atkinson made the news on a Wednesday during a presentation in Abuja. The application process for the scholarship was presented as well to make sure that everyone could apply, as is required by the international convention.

The Chevening Scholarship, a significant collaboration between the governments of the United Kingdom and Nigeria, intend to extend cooperation, notably in the education sector, and increase the social inclusion of people with disabilities (PWDs). According to Ms Gill Atkinson, Deputy Commissioner of the British High Commission in Nigeria, Chevening is intended to empower individuals to study, pursue their passions, and contribute their newly acquired skills and experiences to Nigeria. 

The Chevening Programme Officer in Nigeria, Oluwafunmilayo Ladepo, emphasised that the focus on PWDs is not solely due to their disabilities, but rather to recognise and capitalise on their often-overlooked abilities. The British High Commission in Nigeria said it was ready to work with Nigeria to help the country develop through programmes like Chevening, which supports people based on their merit and also seeks to benefit from the skills and knowledge they bring back to the country after their studies. 

The statement highlighted the positive impact of people with disabilities, stating that collaboration is a two-way street: contributing to Nigeria’s development and benefiting from the talents and skills of those returning. Since 2014, approximately forty-seven individuals with disabilities have benefited from the Chevening programme, demonstrating the British government’s commitment to diversity. The commission urged others to apply for the 2024 session and emphasised the importance of meeting application deadlines for UK institutions listed on the Chevening website.

Mr James Lalu, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, and Dr Adebayo Adebukola thanked the United Kingdom for including PWDs in the Chevening programme. Dr Adebukola emphasised the significance of maximising this opportunity and anticipated that more PWDs would gain from such initiatives. He stressed the importance of gaining knowledge from the United Kingdom, transferring it to Nigeria, and actively contributing to national development. The detailed explanation provided during the session was applauded for guiding individuals with disabilities through the application process and providing insight into what to anticipate in the United Kingdom. Someone with a disability who had received the Chevening Scholarship recently spoke at an event to share their experience and inspire others. 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK government and partner organisations fund the Chevening Scholarships, as part of a global scholarship programme. Each bursary is valued at approximately £35,000 to £45,000, equivalent to around thirty-five million naira. 

Established in Nigeria in 1984, the programme gives outstanding students with leadership ability the chance to get a master’s degree in any field at a university in the UK.  In the most recent cycle (2023/2024), the United Kingdom granted 44 Nigerians, including people with disabilities, Chevening scholarships.