BY LAJU ARENYEKA
NIGERIAN students are the seventh most satisfied international students in the world according to a recent i-graduate analysis of student satisfaction surveys from 50 universities in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.
The surveys, conducted for i-graduate’s International Student Barometer, were filled in by 60,000 international students studying in the US, UK and Australia. For the survey, students were asked to rate their satisfaction on a scale of one to four – one meaning “very dissatisfied” and four meaning “very satisfied”.
The average score of Nigerian students’ satisfaction was 3.11, a meagre 0.19 points lower than Spain with the most satisfied students at 3.30. Nigeria was also the only African country represented in the top 50.
Nigerians’ craze for higher education abroad is common knowledge. In 2012, a non-governmental organization, Exam ethics international said that Nigeria loses over N1.5 trillion to foreign education annually with neighbouring Ghana alone getting about N160 bn as tuition fees for the over 71,000 students studying there.
On one end, the declining standard of education is reason enough for Nigerian students search for greener pastures abroad. Mr. Remi Ademiju, currently doing a Masters programme at Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom, most likely falls under the ‘satisfied category.’
‘This has been a good experience for me,’ he said, ‘it is an intercultural environment which makes learning seem global because I have been able to relate with other students from different parts of the world through series of discussions and group work.
The standard is also quite good; at least three of my lecturers have been to Nigeria and done some training for board members in top Nigerian companies.’ Another student at Vancouver Island University in Canada, who did not want her name in print, also says she has no reason to complain.
‘Studying abroad has really helped me appreciate diversity,’ she told Saturday School Life, ‘the constant interactions with a vast number of people outside my culture, religion and ethnicity has helped me shape the mentality that we all ought to see ourselves as global citizens. The first hand experience in a foreign country, and seeing how things are done at the academic level and beyond, ignites the burning desire to see things work for my own country too.’
Ironically, Nigerian students’ mass exodus in search of foreign education is not always as rosy as the i-graduate survey reports. Barely two weeks ago, the Federal Government for the first time in eight months paid allowances it owed the over 322 Nigerian students on the Bilateral Educational Agreement scholarship in Russia.
This was only after widespread campaign by the media over the fact that Federal Government’s failure to pay the allowances of the students had forced them into begging and resorting to illegal jobs, which put them at risk of deportation in Russia.
In a recent report, nine Nigerian students were kidnapped in the Ukrainian city of Lugansk, according to a statement by the representative of the National Security and Defence Council Information Centre, Andrey Lysenko. After two students were killed recently in different unsolved incidents at Cyprus International University, CIU, Nicosa, in North Cyprus recently, the Chairman House Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa warned parents against sending their wards to study at the university.
“The House Committee on Diaspora has drawn the attention of Nigerians to a suspicious move by the authorities of Cyprus International University, Nicosa, North Cyprus to lure Nigerian students to their university,” Dabiri – Erewa had said.
Good news on one end, and bad news on the other; the double edged sword that is foreign education will continue to be a growing phenomenon considering the unending crisis that bedevils Nigeria’s own education sector.