Mr Adeniran Arimoro, Operator of the Brazilian Educational Exchange Programme with Nigeria, on Monday said that about 500 Nigerians had in the last 50 years benefited from the Brazilian educational grants.
Arimoro told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that Nigeria was among other benefiting countries across the globe that the Brazilian government was having the education exchange cooperation with.
“In the last 50 years, the Brazilian government has continued to sustain its education exchange with several countries, including Nigeria.
“Since when the Brazilian government entered into this exchange programme with Nigeria till date, about 500 Nigerians from different states have benefited from the educational support grant,’’ he said.
The Brazilian official said that the beneficiaries studied engineering, computer science, public administration, economics and geology, were annually supported by the Brazilian government with $7,500 (about N12.1m).
Arimoro said that the grant was meant to support their academic requirements, while the students were responsible for their accommodation, feeding and other incidentals, while in Brazil.
The Operator, who said that about two to three applicants were selected annually, however, explained that many Nigerians were often disqualified due to their inability to speak Portuguese.
Arimoro said that it was compulsory for applicants from different countries to learn Portuguese, for a period of six months.
“Interested students, after applying, must first learn and pass the Portuguese language to qualify for writing the final examination.
“Unfortunately, not many Nigerian applicants are able to scale through the learning of the Portuguese language. This is why we have only two or three Nigerians qualifying for the grants annually,” he said.
Arimoro, who said that the application was done in April and October every year, said that a centre for learning Portuguese language had been established at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in Osun.
He expressed the Brazilian government’s commitment to sustaining the educational exchange programme in the years ahead.