Why international students are less than 1 percent in Nigerian higher institutions

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A committee on the review of admissions into the Nigerian tertiary institutions has recommended a new framework to globalise operations at the universities.

This is as it noted that less than 1 percent of students in the schools are from foreign countries.

Chairman of the Committee on Internationalization of Admissions into Tertiary Educational Institutions in Nigeria, Attahiru Jega, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday.

The report was presented to the Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, Ishaq Oloyede.

Jega, a professor, recommended that the Federal Government put in more efforts to ensure the safety and security of citizens and foreigners in the country.

He added that the government must also make conscious efforts to promote the country’s culture abroad through agencies such as the National Council for Arts and Culture.

He also recommended that tertiary institutions should open offshore campuses for the export of Nigerian education under a robust regulatory framework.

According to him, Nigeria currently scores 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 the total 1,132,795 students.

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“There was 437 foreign academic staff from a total of 5,604 academic staff in these institutions. Foreign students make up 0.18 percent in universities, 0.29 per cent in polytechnics and 0.04 percent in Colleges of Education.

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

“With regard to academic staff, the percentage of foreign academics in Nigerian universities is 0.008 percent, 1.64 percent in polytechnics and 0.18 percent in Colleges of Education.

“This is an indication that the teaching staff in tertiary education system is largely dominated by Nigerian academics.’’

Jega further said that the essence of the report was to propose urgent actions to be taken by the country’s tertiary institutions to attract and retain both international students and staff.

He, therefore, called on JAMB to encourage the internationalisation of tertiary institutions by promoting admission of foreign students.

He also called on various institutions to take specific actions to promote internationalisation of their institutions and programmes.

Responding, Oloyede promised to push for the implementation of the document, saying that the policy on internationalisation of admission would be given necessary consideration.

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He said, “One of the aspects of the mandates of JAMB is the internationalisation of admissions. For the past three years, we have been battling with other issues that we are almost forgetting the issue of internationalisation.

“Active steps will be taken to ensure that the report will immediately go to the ministry of education for necessary action.’’

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