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Why Only 0.16% Foreign Students Patronize Nigerian Varsities – Prof Jega

Former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and a university don, Professor Attahiru Jega has revealed reasons only 0.16 per cent foreign students patronize our tertiary institutions.

A survey conducted by Jega and members of a Committee stated that the percentage of all foreign students in Nigeria’s tertiary education system as 2018/2019 Session is 0.16 per cent.

Jega disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja while presenting a Committee report on the Internationalisation of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions to the Registrar and Chief Executive of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Ishaq Oloyede.

Jega, who was the chairman of the committee put together by JAMB, scored Nigeria low on the internationalisation index.

He said: “In a survey of August 2019 by this Committee on tertiary institutions in Nigeria, of the 194 institutions that responded, there were 1,856 foreign students out of a total of 1,132,795 students.

“There were 437 foreign academic staff from a total of 5,604 academic staff in these institutions. Foreign students make up O. 18% in Universities, 0.29% in Polytechnics and 0.04% in the Colleges of Education.

“The percentage of all foreign students in Nigeria’s tertiary education system as at the 2018/2019 Session is 0.16%.

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“With regards to academic staff, the percentage of foreign academics in Nigerian Universities is O.008%, and 1.64% in the Polytechnics and 0.18% in the Colleges of Education, an indication that teaching staff in Nigerian tertiary education system is largely dominated by Nigerian academics.

“This report proposes urgent actions to be taken so that the country’s tertiary institutions will attract and retain both international students and staff,” he said.

The committee expressed concerns about frequent strike actions by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other staff unions in tertiary institutions and urged both government and unions to work towards entrenching a stable academic calendar and to develop a zero-tolerance for disruption of academic and research programmes.

Jega called on the Federal Government to greater autonomy and flexibility to tertiary institutions to admit foreign students in collaboration with JAMB and to enter into partnerships with foreign institutions.

The committee, he said also called for the development of a framework for internationalisation of tertiary education which should include strategies for the internationalisation of admissions process.

He further urged the institutions to charge moderate fees that could attract foreign students patronage, while also improving on the quality of teaching and raise the standard of the classrooms and facilities to international levels.

According to him, tertiary education system in Nigeria, as the largest in Africa, should be an active player in the internationalisation of education in the continent, and indeed in the world, through the process of admissions amongst others.

JAMB Registrar, Oloyede, in his remark commended members of the committee for their passion and diligence deployed into the assignment he described as critical to the ranking of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

He said there was the need to review admission policy so as to attract foreign students in line with the universality of tertiary institutions, adding that the nation’s economy would improve with coming of foreign students to study in Nigeria.

He assured members of the committee that the report would be dumped in the shelve the way of many committee reports in the country.

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