ASUU strike: Continued exodus to Cyprus and Benin Republic?

by Adedotun Michael

Chigozie Obioma, the author of the Booker nominated and well-received novel ‘The Fishermen’ was a student at the Cyprus International University. In a piece in January last year for the UK’s Guardian, he narrates of what fellow Nigerians had to do to get themselves to that European country just to fulfil their academic ambitions.

Many foreign Universities around the world have a sizeable number of Nigerians enrolled in them. Without having to individually find out from each of them, it is safe to imagine that the frustrations of the motherland served to evoke the search for alternatives elsewhere.

Right now, 90% of students in the Houdegbe North American University, in Benin Republic, are Nigerians. We can expect reasonably high numbers from the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Nigerians also make up significant percentages in institutions towards Southern Africa.

According to World Education News and Reviews website, “Nigeria’s outbound student numbers grew by a staggering 45 percent from 2010 to 2013. These students’ top destinations are the U.K., Ghana, and the U.S., in no small part because Nigeria is home to a large English speaking population. Roughly one-quarter of all U.S. enrolled African students are from Nigeria”.

It was projected in 2014 that Nigerian students will become the second highest number of foreign postgraduate students in the UK, outnumbering India. We may not yet have got there but with circumstances like this strike action by the ASUU, surely internet searches of available Universities will increase. Even those which have nothing but a website and one building will pass for Universities, provided they are in the UK.

It should be a source of concern to the Government if it has quality education as one of its priorities. If young Nigerians cannot study in the country without the disruption of strikes (which has its multiplier consequences when normal school work resumes), and they will latch on to just any school that admits them abroad even with questionable standards, what is the fate of the intellectual backbone of the nation?

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