Nigeria tops in supply of African students to U.S.
The number of international students at United States colleges and universities increased by 10 per cent to a record high of 974, 926 students in the 2014/15 academic year, marking the highest rate of growth in 35 years.
This is as Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), Prof. Isaac Asuzu, has said that the number would continue to swell as far as adequate facilities were not put in place to address the burgeoning clan of tertiary education seekers.
The Institute of International Education’s (IIE) 2015 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, which made this disclosure recently, added that the strong growth was a confirmation of the fact that U.S. remains the destination of choice in higher education.
America plays host to more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world. Nearly 90,000 more international students enrolled in U.S. higher education in 2014/15 compared to the previous year.
The new report indicates there were 9,494 students from Nigeria studying in the U.S. in 2014/15, making Nigeria the leading source of students from Africa and the 15th largest country worldwide among international students there.
This marks a three-year high in the number of Nigerians studying in the United States since 2012.
Students from Nigeria in the U.S. study primarily at the undergraduate level, with 50.2 per cent enrolled at the undergraduate level, 35.2 percent at the graduate level, 12.6 percent pursuing optional practical training, and two per cent in non-degree programmes or short-term studies.
The data was released to mark the celebration of International Education Week, which is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the states.
Each year, EducationUSA Nigeria hosts a college fair that targets high school and graduate students from all over Nigeria, where hordes of higher education representatives fly in to showcase opportunities offered by American institutions.
A press release by IIE quoted its president, Dr. Allan E. Goodman as saying that, “International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century education.”
Goodman added that, “Studying abroad is one of the best ways undergraduate and graduate students gain the international experience necessary to succeed in today’s global workforce. And studying in another country prepares students to be real contributors to working across borders to address key issues in the world we share.”
Irrespective of the facilities provided abroad and the international exposure international students are exposed to, Asuzu insists that serious efforts must be made by relevant authorities to develop the countries educational system.
“We need to do more to make our educational system make room for qualified Nigerians. We need to provide the needed infrastructure and facilities and other necessary educational tools to enable us excel in education. People that are capable go abroad to study because their education system is incapable of catering for their educational needs.
“The rising number of Nigerian students migrating abroad for studies simply tells us that we need to do more to support the country’s educational system; we need to equip our laboratories; train and re-train our teachers because we are as good as they are.
“A short while ago, a young Nigerian left the country for John Hopkins University and ended up making four out of the available four point aggregate score. This shows that our people are capable of excelling anywhere in the world, but the sad thing is that the facilities we have here to work with are inadequate and not up to standard.