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Nigerian Students in UK Universities: A Rising Trend

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Nearly 100,000 Nigerian Students Pursue Higher Education in the UK in the Last 5 Years

In a recent report released by the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, a significant number of Nigerian students have sought higher education abroad. Specifically, from 2017 to 2022, an estimated 99,985 students relocated to the United Kingdom for academic pursuits.

This revelation was made at the 2023 University of Lagos International Week’s opening ceremony. While every year sees a considerable number of Nigerian students winning scholarships for postgraduate and PhD degrees, a broader look at the trend shows professionals and budding entrepreneurs are also keen to explore opportunities outside Nigeria.

A recent study by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) supports this data, emphasizing the movement of Nigerian students to the UK. Though critics argue many students might be migrating for reasons beyond education, Tunji-Ojo highlighted that the predominant aim remains the pursuit of knowledge and personal growth.

However, this surge in international study interest raises concerns about the ease of essential processes like passport acquisition. The minister addressed this, assuring that by early next year, an improved end-to-end automation of the passport application process will be in place. This move aims to provide Nigerians their passports within two weeks of application. Furthermore, by February, collaboration with stakeholders will facilitate home deliveries of these passports.

Tunji-Ojo also discussed plans to enhance the visa application process. The goal is to utilize technology to streamline procedures and expand visa application centers globally. In line with this, the ministry is strengthening its visa-on-arrival policy and reinforcing the principle of reciprocity.

Highlighting the interconnection of global challenges, the minister emphasized the importance of international collaborations. He cited President Bola Tinubu’s address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78), emphasizing the same. He also expressed his staunch belief in education and research’s transformative power, urging the academic community to lead innovations for a brighter Nigeria and Africa.

The event’s keynote speaker, Prof. Iain Gillespie, Vice Chancellor, University of Dundee, UK, stressed global collaboration to tackle mutual challenges, emphasizing the role of universities in leading such alliances.

UNILAG’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, discussed globalisation’s impact on higher education and the significance of international collaborations. She also underscored UNILAG’s commitment to internationalization, enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic’s lessons.

Mr. Sonny Echono, Executive Secretary, TETFund, highlighted their initiative to promote international scholarship, having funded over 40,000 scholars’ Masters and PhD programs abroad.

In conclusion, as globalization bridges gaps, Nigeria’s academic aspirations increasingly resonate on international platforms. With nearly 100,000 students heading to UK universities in half a decade, the trend showcases a blend of Nigeria’s quest for quality education and the global academic community’s inclusive approach.

 

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