There is a common misconception about the reason many Nigerians are studying abroad, that Nigerians loved education so much hence you see thousands of us all around the globe, just about anywhere to be frank.
From Ghana, Ukraine, Russia, to anywhere and everywhere in Asia, Africa and the obvious Europe and the Americas. The latest I heard was 2,600 to Uganda, where? Are we bonkers? – Nothing against Uganda, I actually do believe they are moving way ahead of us in many developmental fronts, now for Nigeria the obsession of studying abroad has turned to a complete mess.
We need to develop our own schools.
Nigeria government alone pays 50,000 students to study abroad yearly, thousands more join this number paying out-of-pocket. Iain Stewart estimated 30,000 students in the UK this year, for each is the minimum of £9,000/yr plus food and living expenses.
This is not because the Nigeria government loved education so much, it is because my government has messed up woefully the education in the country and now only rely on quick fix.
This is what Prof. Soyinka has to say in 2011 during education summit in Osun State – “Students nowadays learn under very harsh conditions which in itself could lead to crisis, there are no sufficient teaching materials in our schools again, there is poor welfare for the students and the library and laboratories are now empty.”
Translation of the above statement:
‘no sufficient teaching materials’ means medical students in human anatomy course learned about body organs, bones, muscles etc using imagination – no slides or any visual aids to talk about. This is the case in one of our private universities. Private universities do not go on strikes as federal or state schools but decay in the education system is just as bad.
“poor welfare for the students” – means students enrolled in university only to be butchered by cult members few years down the line and school authority shifting blames and murderers lived on. That was the case of Afrika and his mates who were killed in their dormitory for speaking up against cultists at Obafemi Awolowo University.
‘library and laboratories are now empty’ means in the library were 2 books that must be shared by 30 students for a coursework – so far so good. But by the time one gets to use the books, pages with the needed information have been ripped off. Low-life students did this on purpose so they make money selling copies – That was mid 90s, so really Nigeria education has been failure long time ago.
What is wrong with government study abroad scholarship?
In the beginning of Nigeria study abroad initiative, the deal was that one must return to the country after the course of study, people did as there were jobs upon return.
The purpose of this condition was so the nation can develop from within, to increase the number of educated and skilled population, never to rely on other nations to educate us forever – more than sixty years on, we are still on the same initiative, more so than ever something is not working the way it should.
Today, most on government scholarship never returned to the country, I don’t blame them because there really is no opportunity to put newly acquired skills to use.
Overhaul of the scholarship scheme is needed, beneficiaries should be made to come back or repay the expenses just as developed nations are doing. Also, we can not rely on quick fix for ever, we must develop our own schools.
Something for the presidential candidates to add to their manifestos before next month?