British Council country director, Nigeria, and director for the West African region, Lucy Pearson, has given reasons many Nigerian parents and students pick the United Kingdom for university education.
Pearson, who spoke in Lagos at the fresher event, organized by the Alumni Network for new undergraduate and graduate students heading to University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, said the major connection between UK and Nigeria was education.
She disclosed that Nigerians seek university education in the UK either as first degree or at the postgraduate level because of quality offered by the institutions.
The country director observed that education was a major priority for both countries, adding that “as restrictions on COVID-19 gradually are reduced, we expect to have more Nigerian students heading to UK for university education.”
Pearson said the council would continue to support first degree and postgraduate students heading to the UK. She confirmed the council had a working relationship with the National Universities Commission (NUC) on quality assurance and other matters.
Former president of the Alumni, Dr. Timi Austen Peters, a lawyer, said the event was to help intending students with useful information on what to expect in the UK.
Peters explained that Nigerian students that graduated from Oxford or Cambridge were regarded as capable persons, and urged the intending students to come back home after graduation to apply their experiences in improving the country.
“Many alumni of the two universities are contributing their quota in business and government. They also try to shape policies. About 30 students are going to the two universities for different courses. Some are on scholarship and others funding from their parents,” he noted.
One of the lucky graduates, Ifeoluwa Ogunbufunmi, a law graduate from the University of Lagos, told The Education Report that it was tough getting admission and after trying for six months, she was offered admission and full scholarship to study for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree: “I picked University of Oxford because women are given priority when it comes to admission.”
She advised institutions in Nigeria to make things easier for students and urged government to improve on the salary of lecturers and provide teaching aids to avert incessant strikes.
Another graduate heading to Oxford for an MBA, Chibueze Ewuzie, a product management expert, who got two scholarships, said he picked the university because of their focus on skills and what a student can offer.
“Classroom teaching and real life is different in this country. There is need to review the curriculum of our universities.
Like Imo State University, the curriculum being used is over 20 years old. I will use my background and what I have done for youths (skill training) as an advantage while in Oxford,” Ewuzie said.
Board of trustees member of the alumni, Prof. Bomi Ogedegbe, said the 30 students will receive quality education and exposed to how to seek knowledge and utilize it in Oxford and Cambridge.
Ogedegbe said: “They must use the opportunity to network and learn different ways of doing things. Many who attended the two universities have ended up being leaders in different fields. Nigeria government needs to pay attention to education. We have to improve on funding of education and treat teachers well.”
President of Oxford and Cambridge Club of Nigeria, Lanre Fatimilehin, said the gathering is an annual event for first degree and graduate heading to the two institutions, nothing” we tutor them on how to study in UK and also how to network.”
He advised the 30 students to decide on what they want to achieve while in UK and also build network among Nigerian graduates and other students.
Fatimilehin, who graduated in 2013 from Cambridge, said emphasis has changed from the traditional courses like Law, Political Science, Economics, Accounting to technology, science related courses and entrepreneurship.
“Government should invest in education and also partner with tertiary institutions to create products, generate ideas and other breakthrough. Private sector should play a part in improving education, “he stressed.