Monday, January 11, 2010

For decades, Nigerians have traveled to the United Kingdom to receive their education. As far back as the colonial era, young Nigerians were shipped abroad to study and soon returned to teach others or apply their education in the country. Nigeria's education system soon became a shining star on the African continent, with students coming from as far away as Asia and the Caribbean to take advantage of the nation's institutions. Over time, however, Nigerian schools began to lose their shine and those with the resources opted for educations anywhere other than Nigeria. And now, according to Business Day Online, Nigerian money fuels the UK education sector to the tune of N246 billion.

"United Kingdom has become a preferred destination for most Nigerian students seeking education following no clear cut government policy and subsequent rot in the sector."
Nigerian students are extremely coveted by the English educational system because they not only bring in billions, but the students apparently do very well, meaning very good business for the U.K. which sells its educational system not just in Nigeria, but across the world. Companies like Global Education Study Centres make a considerable profit packaging and selling education in the U.K. to weary Nigerians simply seeking to educate their children in a reliable system.
According to statistics from the British Council, since 2002, the number of Nigerians being educated in the UK increased by over 75%. That number was generated in 2006 and so it can be expected that the percentage is higher given the continued dilapidation of the Nigerian education system. In a 2007-2008 list of countries sending students to the U.K., Nigeria ranked 8th. But, as parents rush to send their children to the U.K., the recent incident with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab revealed that young Muslim men are being radicalized in English schools, an issue no parent can ignore.

It is beyond question that Nigeria would be much better off if that N246 billion that was spent in the US had been spent, efficiently, in Nigeria itself. However, the question remains - what will happen to Nigeria's educational system? Already, the nation was informed that 23mn of its youths are unemployable thus complicating matters further. Thankfully there are private institutions picking up the slack but what of those who cannot afford those schools? Will they simply go without a reasonable education? And, if so, what does that say of Nigeria today and tomorrow?

What do you think about the increased number of Nigerian students studying abroad?

Hattip to Dr. U for sending this news story for consideration.

From The Archives:
- 23mn Of Nigeria's Youth Are Unemployable
- Nigeria's 10MN Child Beggars 

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15 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

יש (Yosh) said...
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יש (Yosh) said...

1. It is a real pity that we spend so much on university education overseas and our system here is in shambles. But I don't blame those who can afford it. There's the problem here with strikes. Lecturers are so blatant in how they make students go through more trouble than is necessary to get their work done. Lecturers have upgraded their skills in extortion. If a student resists or tries to report what is happening, s/he risks being expelled on phony grounds and further being ostracized by the different universities s/he may go seek admission.

Different quarters have reported how graduates from most of our universities cannot stand on their own once they leave school. They are among the unemployable lot you mentioned up there. The quality and usefulness of information disseminated from these institutions is questionable. Leaves no wonder why calling those who leaves these institutions 'graduates'

2. The private institutions do what they can within their capacity. Their employees are relatively better paid than their counterparts in the public-funded institutions. They are quite pricey and yes not everyone's child can afford going there. One reason for this high cost would be because of the infrastructure and facilities. The money of course is also used to cater for their staff welfare.

3. My problem with the increased number of Nigerian students studying abroad is how I see it as exploitative. Though I do not see how directly it is a generic issue, but then, I think it is an issue by itself.

These days, most "young Nigerians who are shipped abroad to study and soon return", WHEN they decide to return, do not "teach others or apply their education in the country". But really, most of these people sweat their butts off (or not) paying for expensive higher education outside our shores, so they shouldn't really be obliged to "fix anything". Whatever goodwill anyone applies after their education abroads is commendable, but basically personal.

There are several education-oriented NGOs that are out there meant to work with the Federal Ministry of Education but there's nothing forthcoming from these "alliances", if I may call it that. The FMoE is a body with such a collosal budget that leaves you wondering what that Behemoth uses it for.

My final issue with our educational emigrants is how they are received out there. If Nigerians pump in roughly >£1bn to the UK ed sector, what do we get back? More racism and abuse, both subtle and not-so-subtle.

I believe we deserve better, both from our leaders and those who we indirectly help, even though they might not openly acknowledge our help. If things were the way it should be here, there'd be no reason for all these my 'dogon turenchi'.

Mola OG said...

23 million youths unemployable? That one pinched a nerve... that's even worse than having no light in Nigeria... These issues should be addressed; why is this happening? O btw SSD, did you hear anything new on our President; is he still alive? Where is he? We need a leader!!!

Myne Whitman said...

This is totally mind-boggling. Can you imagine if all that money went into our educational system? Yours' and the first commenter are quite comprehensive.

BTW, did you see the rumor that Yardie is kaput?

Azazel said...

This is so sickening and saddening

Dee said...

This is just another of the headaches and heartaches in Naija!

As someone who did her undergrad in Naija, going through the headache of GETTING INTO UNIVERSITY (insert here SSCE & JAMB wahala, cutoff numbers, various backdoor begging to be put on the admission list) I can say for sure that I spent more time at home than in school learning. Put together dissatisfied professors and instructors, inadequate infrastructure, nonexistent teaching equipment…a recipe for disaster. My School was closed down so many times because of strike or student unrest.

We lost so much time that one whole calendar year (session) was cancelled on paper and adjusted to meet the “real ” calendar date. And when we were in actually in school, we didn’t learn anything…we were just rushed to catch up what we missed so exams could be held. In fact, I can say l didn’t learn anything and couldn’t apply what I thought I learned in undergrad until I did my masters degree.
Yes, without a doubt the Nigerian Educational system in a nightmare.

Parents that have gone through the system and watch their children sit at home months at a time would scrape, borrow and steal to send their kids abroad. Having your kids study abroad turns out to be a worthwhile investment, cos your children come back and take all few available jobs with their foreign degrees.

Frankly I think Universities can do better. They fought so hard for autonomy in the ‘90s and did nothing with it. What happened to fundraising? Applying for research grants and collaborating with other well off universities abroad? Sadly most Universities are run with the same kind of bureaucracy found in government, in fact, it's worse with them.
Added to all this there is NO political will power to fix the gaping holes education sector. The government allocates too little money to make any significant change.

In the end, Nigerian universities would keep producing ‘Half-baked’ graduates until ______. (Fill in the blank cos I really don’t know)

Anonymous said...

N246billion,it looks lyk a lot of money but when u add the monies involved in just 2 or 3 fraud cases handled by d EFCC you would realise N246billion is 'not' a lot of money... The bigger loss I think is,Nigeria is losing out on a lot of human resources,technocrats,intellectuals e.t.c who have all added significant values to foreign nations.the biggest loss is this phenomenom'll continue to impede Nigeria's growth. A nation cannot be great if her people are not learned or empowered

- Wellsbaba from facebook

joicee said...

Well..why am I not surprised cousin has already gotten admission to study a course although he has not got his alevels in order yet...he is doing a so called foundation and the bill for this is to the tune of 9k per annum. I do not another group of europeans that love money so much...they don´t care ....once you have the money to fuel their system you are mostly highly welcome.

NaijaBabe said...

As a Nigerian student in the UK, I'm sure my hundreds amount up to the 246 billion. Considering one year at university costs no less than £10,000. Its sad to see that our hard earned money is being spent here, only for us to carry on staying here, cos frankly we believe we may have better prospects than we would in Nigeria. Though thats not true, we'd rather enjoy the availability of basic amenities such as good transport system and healthcare and work for peanuts.

We have hope that things will improve, but each passing day sees the birth of another hurdle. how will we overcome them?

benbes said...

education abraod is always quality especially in coutries like UK and usa, it is costly but worth it.
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F said...

The Nigerian education system is just one more saddening layer in this thing we call the Nigerian condition... What is there to add that people don't know already? Is it the strikes? The exploitative private universities cashing in on the gross failures of the state? Or even the quality of the education itself? Naija is one of the few countries that is capable of producing graduates and PhD holders who cannot work a computer. This is no joke; I'm not talking "web designing" or anything extra-techy like that... I mean basic googling! Plain sad...

With all this happening, I do not blame my parents and those like them for working their asses off to send their kids out of the country for uni. However, there is an underlying resentment this creates within a significant proportion of those who went to school at home since they think we look down on them... If the idea that those fortunate to go abroad are supposed to come back home and help has any merit, how can it be brought to fruition if fellow citizens at home don't want to co-operate with us? The whole thing does my head in... I wouldn't want to start another blog post so I'll leave it at that...

pamie@malaysia insider & travel said...

Nigerians in Malaysia always under watchful eyes of the local communities. Many are culturally in conflict with the mild mannered locals and they are viewed as rude and offensive people.

Oh yeah.. Nigerian scam a lot in Malaysia too (remember the black money?). No offense. But sometimes one cannot differentiate between student or not.

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