Student Emigration in Nigeria

Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, morals, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion, and directed research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators; however, learners can also educate themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings, and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. The methodology of teaching is called pedagogy.

Nigeria is the number one country of origin for international students from Africa It sends the most students overseas of any country on the African continent, and outbound mobility numbers are growing at a rapid pace. According to data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), the number of Nigerian students abroad increased by 164 percent in the decade between 2005 and 2015 alone from 26,997 to 71,351. Why is this happening, does it mean that there are not even schools in Nigeria to accommodate these students that are spending a lot studying in foreign countries.

According to a report by Nairametrics, a financial resource company based in Nigeria, international undergraduate students pay a yearly £13,394 for classroom taught courses and £15,034, £24,169 respectively for laboratory and clinical courses. Postgraduate students pay £13,442, £15,638, and £20,956, respectively for the classroom, laboratory, and clinical-based courses. For MBA students, the tuition is £18,226 on average. In addition to the tuition, the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS) noted that the average yearly cost of living outside of London for students is £12,056. To study in London, Nigerian students part with about £16,000 per year. For visa purposes, international students pay at least £1,265 for each month of stay while those outside London pay at least £1,000 per month to prove that they can cover the cost of living in the UK.

We as Nigerians have one time in our life aspired to travel out of the country. No lie, maybe it is because we all believe that better opportunities await us if we are lucky enough to leave the shore of this country. It is so bad that certain individuals risk their lives in search of a way to travel to countries in Europe, Asia, America, Australia, The Middle East. Some of our beliefs are that the healthcare system in these countries are way better than what we can get in our country, the education is more efficient because they teach with a better system and there is rarely any need for delays during the cause a study, there is no AASU strike like there is here in Nigeria and so many other reasons. But for the sake of our article, we will be focusing on education.

There are certainly really good educational institutions in our country, but why do students seem to prefer studying outside Nigeria even though it might not be comfortable for them, this quote from an article in The Guardian newspaper gives an insight into what Nigerians studying in The UK are currently going through, “Thousands of Nigerian students abroad are currently faced with serious challenges on account of the coronavirus pandemic and the growing possibility that the disease could be around for much longer. Burdened already by exorbitant fees, the global health challenge has dislocated their study, leaving them stranded in host nations. But resorting to Nigeria’s ailing educational sector is a grim choice they may not want to make.” Rather than attend one of the many prestigious universities that Nigeria has to offer them, they will rather acclimatize to whatever problem they face in these countries rather than return to Nigeria. One major reason for this is the numerous strike a Nigerian study tend to experience during their course study, but the truth is that not all Nigerian students go through this, some lucky chaps have parents that are privileged enough to send them to private institutions, one thing to note is that private schools in Nigeria have never been accessible for the majority of the Nigerian student population, why is this though? These private institutions charge a lot and because of the high poverty rate in Nigeria, many people do not have the resources to send their children to these institutions. But still enrolling in Nigerian universities, especially public ones, seems nightmarish on account of worsening standards. The government has also slashed the 2020 budget by N318 billion, from N10.594 trillion to N10.276 trillion, there is consequently a reduced focus on education. The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) had recommended that 15-20 percent of the total budget should go to the education sector. At a glance, 6.48 percent of the 2020 budget was allocated to education; 7.11 percent in 2019; 7.14 percent in 2018; 7.27 percent in 2017; and 9.20 percent in 2016. While foreign universities are coming up with ingenious means to start a new session by deploying educational technology, their Nigerian counterparts appear stuck in a ‘medieval’ system, making a homecoming most unlikely by these foreign students unlikely. Another major problem is the inability of the nation’s institutions to accommodate its continuously rising population.

All these and many more reasons which will be duly highlighted in the article are the motives for the constant migration of Nigerian students. Some other reasons for the constant migration of Nigerian students are;

1. Low quality of Nigerian higher institutions: Nigerian institutions cannot compete with top institutions around the world in terms of standard and quality. This is simply because institutions in Nigeria are poorly funded and therefore cannot meet up the demands. If you go to some federal or state universities in Nigeria, you will be astonished as to how students are expected to learn in facilities that are less than proper, students sleep in Hostels that do not have constant running water, constant electricity supply, and are in very poor conditions. All these have been solely down to the corruption in the government and the educational system.

2. Incessant strikes: ASSU strike, a term familiar to every Nigerian that has gone through the university system. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) In short, always has a reason to go on strike, sometimes lasting for a whole year. This is also a result of the corruption in the government. Consequently, this affects their academic programs as the stipulated completion time is automatically increased. Whenever the universities are on strike, the students are the ones who suffer the most as academic activities are put on hold. This is also one of the major reasons why students from Nigeria prefer to study abroad where there will be no issue of ASSU strike.

3. Better job opportunities: Unemployment is a very big issue in Nigeria, a pertinent issue that never seems to want to leave. People prefer to travel and study where getting a well-paying job would not be a problem for them, statistics put the number of the labor force at 76.96 million while the number of unemployed people stood at 22.45 million. This is bad and scary precedence for students in Nigeria.

4. Preference for foreign certificates: Employers of labor in Nigeria tend to prefer people who studied abroad, especially in countries with better quality of education. This is one major issue and a very good reason students want to leave the country. Since employers prefer graduates who studied abroad, a lot of potential Nigerian students prefer to study outside the shore of Nigeria to have an edge over their mates whenever they finally return to the country for jobs. Also, certificates from highly developed countries can hardly be questioned, unlike in Nigeria where corruption is the order of the day.

5. Advanced teaching methods: For students who are very concerned with understanding what they are thought perfectly, studying abroad is usually the most preferred option because they will be exposed to better tutoring technics, quality learning facilities, and a conducive environment to live in and learn.

As long as urgent measures are not taken to salvage the rot in the higher education sector, Nigeria will continue to witness higher figures of student’s emigration to various countries abroad to further their education. This trend, in the long run, will be of great detriment to the country as a higher rate of student migration will unavoidably pave way for a massive brain drain in the country. This will also harm the nation’s economy.

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