Total Exploration and Production Nigeria, a subsidiary of French oil giant Total and the Embassy of France in Nigeria have established a joint scholarship scheme titled: TEPNG/ Quai d'Orsay (TQJS), as part of their collaboration in the area of Community Social Responsibility (CSR) projects that will boost educational development in the country.
The agreement to formalise the programme was signed recently at the French Embassy, Abuja, between Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (TEPNG) and the Embassy.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive of TEPNG, Mr. Guy Maurice signed for Total, while His Excellency, the Ambassador of France, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle signed for the Embassy of France in Nigeria.
The programme started with a pilot scheme last year when a candidate was jointly selected and sponsored to study International Law in France.
But under the new programme, five Nigerians would benefit from an annual scholarship sponsored by Total in collaboration with the French Embassy in Nigeria with effect from the 2012/2013 academic year.
The cost of each of the international scholarship is about 54,000Euros
The agreement makes provision for a four-man steering committee to manage the scheme on behalf of the parties.
Benefits to be enjoyed by the selected beneficiaries amongst others include a sum to cover travel expenses; academic fees if in a private university or institution in France and living expenses for a period of ten months, including food, housing costs and academic text or materials.
Others include logistics support in obtaining necessary permits or visas for the selected students; and health insurance for each beneficiary, such as will give the beneficiaries the "status" of French government scholarship's beneficiaries and the health care benefits associated with this status.
The rest include 60 hours minimum language training in Nigeria for the selected students and school fees for beneficiaries selected into public universities in France.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Ambassador Champagne de Labriolle, explained that the programme was borne out the need to contribute to the training of Nigerians in different fields.
He praised Total for its contributions to the development of the Nigeria.
"Understanding changes in your environment is not a matter of specialisation but a matter of personal balance and culture", he said
Also speaking, Maurice noted that such initiatives on the part of the company were a reflection of its confidence in the country and continuation of what it did in the past
The Quai d' Orsay educational cooperation between Total and the French Embassy started in 2011 and already operates in other subsidiaries.
Total's delegation to the event included the Executive General Manager, Corporate Services, Mr. Vincent Nnadi; Executive General Manager Public Affairs and Communication, Mr. Chidi Momah; Training & Development Manager, Mr. Sam Nkwo; and Senior Legal Counsel Mr. Adesina Salawu.
The Ambassador's team included the Counsellor for Co-operation and Culture, Mr. Patrick Perez.
Total has been collaborating with top rated institutions around the world as part of its contribution towards human capacity development in its host communities. It is the main sponsor of the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS), a postgraduate institution at the University of Port Harcourt run in collaboration with the prestigious Institute France du Petrole (IFP) France.