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Thursday, 29 June 2017

Why Nigerian students prefer going abroad to study

In a century where there is a rapid explosion of knowledge, with necessary emphasis on education and its value in the world systems. There is a mad rush to key into the relevance proffered by educational qualification and its experiences.
However, there is a problem of unparalleled non-challancy in the governments’ interest in building the educational sector. This is sickening, demoralizing and has called for an ardent pursuit for alternatives in countries where such values are not only recognized, but its reward and sector prioritized. A plethora of reasons has called for this educational migration and we may have to look at some of them in the following paragraphs.

On one end, the declining standard of education is reason enough for Nigerian students search for greener pastures abroad. When a student is subjected to study only theories of a practical demanding course for 4years, and probably is only granted access to see the interior of a related lab once. This is a hoax to what he is told true education really is. His curiosity sends him searching. The rise of social media connectedness has exposed the poor academic standards of our country. Students feel ashamed to tell their mates studying same course with them in a different county, but same level, what they are learning. Owing to the fact that our academic syllables are extremely back dated, that we sound like we are learning what they have remained for us 5years ago! This kind of sour experiences make educational minded young students to migrate for and upgraded learning experience.

To some other people, it is Career Opportunities that endear them to leave. When most Nigerian students finish studying abroad and return home, they return with a new perspective on culture, language skills, a great education, and a willingness to learn. Needless to say, all of these are very attractive to future employers. Also, many Nigerians may find that the country they studied in has a lot of opportunities so they seek employment there. For those who return to Nigeria, they get to find that a foreign education is very valuable when searching for a potential job in Nigeria. We have cheapened our hard earned certificates, and adored the slightest ones gotten from any other place but Nigeria.

At the other end of the spectrum, we also see search for Graduate School Admissions as the influencing factor. Like future employers, graduate school admissions boards look very highly on study abroad experiences. Students that study abroad display diversity and show that they aren’t afraid to seek out new challenges or put themselves in difficult situations. Most importantly, students who have studied abroad show just how committed they are to their education. Graduate schools regularly look for candidates who will bring a unique aspect to their university. This makes Nigerian students want to study abroad, especially those seeking graduate school admission in a country different from where they studied.

At some other points, Financial independence is the catch. The influx of Nigerian students into American, Australia, Canadian, German and some other universities outside Africa, is the possibility of flexibility in studying and working. The mere fact that these places have conducive standards of living, good labour laws, and available and well paying job for students that choose to work, makes them a better choice for Nigerian youth. Our youths prefer to borrow money to fund their oversea academic pursuit, because they are close 90% sure of making enough money in less than 2years to offset the loan, and live comfortably.

The nightmare that comes with remembering that there are about 1.5 million students looking for undergraduate placements alone – but there are only half a million places available is sickening. If that alone was the case, it would have been manageable. But the fact that there is a high level of likelihood to join the over 80% unemployed graduate, in a messed up economy is the tipping point. This is a very integral reason for the rush in oversea studies.

On the other hand, there are a lot of other specific reasons which the condition of our education system has coerced some youths into having this preference such as; To Gain a global mind-set, It’ll look good on your CV, the fact that ‘it is an intercultural environment which makes learning seem global because I have been able to relate with other students from different parts of the world through series of discussions and group work.’ Irrespective of whatever reason any youth may give, its justification lies in the inconsistencies and non-devotedness of our government to building our educational system.

This calls for the bigger question,
what is the way out? What if our government declares a state of emergency on the educational sector with a concrete plan of a revamp? What if our government restructure the syllables to reflect current trends and knowledge requirement, such that students don’t study decimated subjects or topics in their fields? What if the government upgrade and closely monitor the tertiary institutions, to ensure that students are reasonably admitted within the limits of the school’s capacity to manage effectively? What if the school system provides well laboratories and controlled regular access for student to experiment theoretical knowledge? What if our country passes a policy that places higher premium value on certificates gotten from our schools after this academic revamp? What if Graduate admissions and requirement are tailored to suit the dreams of our undergraduates as they complete their studies? What if our governments create a cost effective and quality standard cost of living environment for her citizens? What if our government work on our economy enough to offer economic opportunities for students to key into and make sound living while studying? What if our governments make available more scholarship opportunities without stressful and bureaucratic excesses in accessing them before qualifying from a nepotism based choice? What if Our government takes the conscious decision to act?

We will be better than this. We will have the influx into our country. And we will be highly prized intellectuals with worldwide relevance, operating to the benefit of our father land.
Finally, the onus lies much more in our government than our youths. The preference is only a reaction to governmental action and inactions towards the educational system of our country. It is said, you cannot cut off someone’s nose, and give him a rose to smell. Our government has expose us to the realities of education, cut us way from the experience, and expects us to enjoy the dilapidated system while we have a burning passion for the real experience.

I dare the government to fulfil its obligation, and see how much an educational haven Nigeria is destined to be.

Author: Obiyo Daniel
Michael Okpara University of Agricultural Umudike (MOUAU)

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