Fred Ezeh, Abuja
As uncertainty trails the ongoing negotiation on Brexit, the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Global Engagement at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom, Prof. Chris Chang, has allayed the fears of some Nigerian students that the outcome of the brexit negotiation could have a devastating effect on their academic destinies.
Speaking to reporters in Abuja on Monday, Prof. Chang said that such reassurance and explanation was part of the reason for his maiden visit to Nigeria.
He added that his visit was also to strengthen the bond and fraternity among members of the Alumni of the university, and to also strengthen partnerships with officials of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“No fewer than 200 Nigerian students enrol each year on undergraduate, postgraduate programmes in our September and January intakes. Majority of them are students sponsored by TETFund, NDDC and other funders,” he said.
“We have strong alumni in Nigeria with prominent people, notably the Inspector General of Police, Adamu Abubakar, the Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Satellite Technology Development, Prof. Spencer Onuh, among several others who could serve as pointers to the academic and non-academic qualities of the university.”
Chang maintained that UK institutions desire cultural and racial diversity, hence the decision of the UK government to reopen the post-study work opportunity for foreign students for two years.
He said: “UK government strongly value relationships and partnership with global community, particularly Commonwealth countries. So, Brexit should not cause concerns for Nigerian students. There’s possibility that it could end in their favour.
“Howbeit, one thing I want to reassure Nigerian students is that Brexit has no negative effect on their academic destiny, because they are in UK to acquire education and skills for global relevance.
“Students from across the world are usually welcomed in the UK because we want diversity in UK universities that would create richness in culture and diversity.
“At the end of day, we are working in a global village and the ability to work across cultures with people of different ideologies, beliefs, social and religious dispositions, are some of the major skills we give our graduates. Their presence also enriches our concept of a global village,” Chang said.