Nigeria study abroad scholarship madness

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?

Categories: Education, Nigeria

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

17 replies

  1. Nigeria’s problem, where do we start from? You are talking about education, what about the health sector, power? and all the others? It is only God that can help us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Naijamum.

      As we say ikookan laa yo ese l’eku – one needs to exit palm oil ‘processing unit’ one foot at a time.

      Completely agree with you, however, I feel the education sector rot is way out of hand, it is the cycle that must be dealt with head on and the only way to help with that is building home schools the right way and making it accessible to all.

      On health – I dreaded ever been sick at home because of not very good memory of people that didn’t walk out alive.

      Having said that, two years ago when my mother was seriously ill from diabetes complication, the local clinic instructed we took her to the same death trap teaching hospital – my tears was mostly that she would never walked out of that place alive.
      It was this time that I see the other side of our health system. Our teaching hospital at Ife has updated technology that private clinics around don’t have to help with many illnesses – the doctors and nurses are available to help to the best of their abilities. However, you must have enough money to buy every little materials including little things such as medical gloves and needles. All of these were not expensive compared to the cost of drugs – they give you the list, you go down the corridor to purchase – if one fails to do this, the patients is pushed aside – that simple. Very sad but that is our reality.

      We can do better than this, and again we don’t have effective tax system and no real health insurance to talk about if one is part of the 70% of rural dwellers. So we die of treatable illnesses and our best doctors get frustrated and jumped on the next flight to anywhere but Nigeria.

      Power? Naijamum! Well, i better pass my neighbour. 🙂

      God helping us? Uhmn… that is true, He sure will – we have plenty of churches in every corner of the streets to show for that and of course mosques too – One Day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! 9,000 pounds. That is a fortune….

    Three things…For most Nigerians, it is a status thing to study abroad. It has always been the case for these sorts regardless. Secondly, our obsession with formal education is frightening. Finally, at the rate our population keeps growing, we are doomed to these inadequacies in our educational system.

    Liked by 1 person

    • £9,000 is for Humanities, sciences are much more expensive.

      You are right, with obsession for degrees, but you would think a nation who professes that would provide facilities for such.

      I think people are free to send their offsprings to wherever they wanted to study however, it doesn’t make any sense for govt to keep sponsoring the same people that could have afforded it, abi?

      Remember when we had technical colleges and teacher’s training around the country?

      Liked by 1 person

      • WE STILL HAVE THESE TECHNICAL SCHOOLS! But people only go there as a last resort. My wife works with such a school. (govt owned) & they train pre-secondary & pre-tertiary school children for near free rates. Yet folks would rather let their children roam endlessly at home waiting for elusive admissions into universities than send their children to a technical school. We have some of the best technical tertiary institutions in the third world (Polytechnics) I know as a fact that if you apply for a technical or engineering job with Julius Berger Nigeria & you have a HND from a Polytechnic, you are given preferential treatment, ahead of a degree holder from a University. But our own government would rather employ a degree holder, so every one wants a degree.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for the reminder. I honestly thought they’ve gone with the winds. I suppose technical colleges were less talked about given the few around filled up quickly?

          I guess road side apprenticeship offices is catering for those that can’t make it to either technical college / polytechnics but obviously more are needed to cater for the citizens.

          I think this is another good example of Nigeria following closely what British does without necessary adjustment to suit our society – British government in the 90s allowed their polytechnics to change to university status, the change that did not benefit many people who liked to go for higher learning without the burden of essays – in the last few years there has been a big change in this because of the outcry from the citizens, govt giving incentive to small business to train young school leavers.

          For us, making a Uturn is harder, but we must.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Why is making a u-turn harder? It is only outdated and snobbish views, that the middle class and upper class hang onto.
            In the UK, governments are looking at the German model, you have technical schools and universities for academic courses. Germany is one of the leading economies of the world and has been one for a long time, and will continue to be.

            The economic model has changed, being a professional is no guarantee of a good standard of living, in fact many graduates in the UK are presently unemployed or under-employed. Small and medium sized enterprises need to be encouraged that is where the growth is likely to occur. They are now recognising this in the UK.
            I also believe that Nigeria needs to encourage innovation, not just copying. I don’t see Nigeria exporting much. Do you know that mobile banking which everyone now uses was created in Kenya ( it is called M-PESA by a company called Safaricom). The only thing I’ve heard to come out of Nigeria is the shameful 419. I’m sure Safaricom is not government owned, but it has taken off. Ghana has “theSoftTribe” – possibly the largest software company in West Africa, run by Herman Chinery-Hesse.

            Degrees are not as valued as they used to be, the key is to be able to innovate and add value to your service. But older Nigerians only ever talk of doctors, lawyers, accountants etc, there is room for those, but the professionals only ever account for a small proportion of the workforce. What about the rest?

            With all this education floating around, Nigeria continues to lag behind. Hopefully people such as yourself will transform the landscape.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you.

              Making a U turn need not be too difficult but everything requires more effort than necessary in Nigeria.

              Come to think of it, most people are self employed so patnering with small business owners need not be difficult.


  3. I think this education abroad business should be recognised for what it really is a sham. Very few people go abroad to study and return (a handful perhaps). The majority see it as an opportunity to leave the country for good, and once abroad better their lives and use it as a lifeline for their family members, either for others to leave or send money back to family.
    This is somewhat understandable considering that.
    1) Most people only pay lip service to patriotism.
    2) Unabiding corruption.
    3) Suffocation of meritocracy
    4) Slow moving and over-bloated bureaucracy.
    5) Indiscipline amongst the students ie cults etc
    6) Lack of maintenance culture for equimpment and facilities
    7) The ready willingness of Nigerians to subvert processes, ie male lecturers demanding that attractive female students have sex with them (sleep) in order to pass.
    8) Poorly paid & motivated staff, or staff that are not up to the task (ie political appointments)
    9) Insecurity and ever-worsening living conditions
    A new committment by the ecuational establishment to really achieve what they set out to do in the first place should be focussed upon ie creating an environment that people students abroad will willingly return to, knowing they can apply their skills and be duly rewarded and appreciated and see themselves having a future in the country. Trying to force people back won’t work. The onus is on those in Nigeria, to put things in order so that will be enough of an enticement for overseas students. I think honesty and transparency are key ingredients which are sorely lacking. Anything else is just window-dressing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a sham for sure. Most beneficiaries are those with ‘long leg’ so enforcing any conditions is difficult as they advised the government in the first place.

      I think most Nigerians would willingly cooperate to return to ‘give back’ so to speak if there is job opportunity to return to.


  4. This was a very pleasant read. The rot in our educational system is so bad, and no one seems to be trying to address it. ASUU gets a bad rap for demanding an overhaul of the system. The quality of graduates coming out of the system is also nothing to write home about.

    Hopefully, we can build up our educational system again to the point that our graduates are globally competitive once more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the read, glad you thought it was a pleasant one!

      To be honest, ASUU is part of the problem, each time they went on strike, they’d caved in after the government threw bonuses on them, quickly forget why they went on strike in the first place.

      I sensed ASUU with the new messages put out are tired as the rot is affecting everyone – I hope that’s correct.


  5. Food, water, clothing, shelter and safety comes first. Followed by infrastructure and education. Sharing the knowledge is part of being in society. Perhaps instead of full scholarships they could be required to work a year to give back to the community linked with passport renewal for those lucky enough to study abroad. The trend of those who study abroad not to return to their home country to live is quite a common issue in many countries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!

      I love that proposal – link giving back to passport renewal, that would work and even easy to enforce by working with other nations. Yes, it is the skill transfer that we needed most, so a year compulsory work in their community will be fantastic. This in turn would keep the govt on their toes to be sure these guys have jobs so there’s no excuses.

      I have a friend who was on a grant to attend Oxford uni, the condition was that he must work for at least two years in Canada to teach after his studies or pay back the grant. He chose not to return as he got a very good job offer, he knew the conditions and paid the grant back.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to folakemiodoaje Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: