Oby Ezekwesili launches scholarship with Nexford University for Nigerian women

Former Minister of Education and #BringBackOurGirls crusader, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, has launched a scholarship program for Nigerian women in partnership with Nexford University

The former World Bank official has also become the newest member of the next-generation university’s Global Advisory Board, which includes leading academics and practitioners.

Dr Ezekwesili, who told TIME magazine in October 2018 that education was the “new oil,” will award five two-year scholarships to Nigerian women aged 16–25 to study on Nexford’s Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program. The Oby Ezekwesili Scholarship Program is the American university’s first women-only scholarship.

“More work must go into widening access and opportunities for women to level the gender playing field,” said Dr Ezekwesili. “I believe Nexford scholarships will empower more women to study degrees and equip future leaders with the skills they need to shape our society. I hope recipients of the scholarship have a multiplier effect and encourage learners from any socioeconomic background to earn degrees.”

Fadl Al Tarzi, Nexford’s CEO, responded: “Africa’s most populous country is one of Nexford’s key markets.” A college degree will boost earnings by more than 20% in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Economist’s analysis of World Bank Data. “By bringing globally affordable, high-quality education to Nigeria we hope to play our part in spurring economic mobility.”

Nexford, based in Washington DC, surveyed industry leaders who employ more than 2.5 million people worldwide and analyzed over 30 million job postings to bridge the gap between learners and employers. “At Nexford, we’re proud to offer young talent a workplace-relevant curriculum. Africa is the only region in the world where the youth population is increasing, so there’s a real demand for higher education aligned to the changing global needs of society in the region,” said Dr Sheila Fournier-Bonilla, Chief Academic Officer at Nexford.

BBA and MBA learners can choose to earn a degree with a specialization relevant to their local market as well as their future career. Specializations include Sustainability, where the planet’s dwindling resources tops of the agenda, and Managing Hyperconnectivity, where learners cover cybersecurity hacks and IoT ecosystems.

In response to Dr Oby’s board position, Dr Fournier-Bonilla added: “We’ve made the strategic decision to align with mission-driven partners and supporters: Dr Oby will bring unique and relevant insights to the board.”

Olamidun Majekodunmi, Nexford’s Nigeria Country Manager, called Dr Ezekwesili the “number one candidate” for the university’s Advisory Board seat in Nigeria due to her “passion for education, economic opportunities, and youth advancement.”

Interested scholarship applicants can apply to Nexford’s Oby Ezekwesili Scholarship Program by sending an email to scholarships@nexford.org

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