Written by Godfrey AKON

Nigerian varsities, others attract only 0.16% foreign students - Jega

The combined population of foreign students in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions is 1,856, representing 0.16 per cent of the overall student population as at 2018/2019 academic year, a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, has said.

Jega, who stated this in Abuja while delivering a report of the Committee on Internationalisation of Admissions into Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria, said the low patronage of Nigerian institutions by foreign students was observed after the committee carried out a survey of 194 tertiary institutions in the country.

He said findings made by the committee revealed that there were 437 foreign academic staff from a total of 5,604 academic staff in the institutions surveyed, representing 0.008 per cent of the total population of teaching staff in the institutions.

“Currently, Nigeria scores low on the internationalisation index. 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 a total of 1,132,795 students.

“Foreign students make up 0.18% in Universities, 0.29% in Polytechnics and 0.04% in the Colleges of Education. The percentage of all foreign students in Nigeria's tertiary education system as at the 2018/2019 Session is 0.16%.

“With regards to academic staff, the percentage of foreign academics in Nigerian Universities is 0.008%, and 1.64% in the Polytechnics and 0.18% in the Colleges of Education, an indication that teaching staff in Nigerian tertiary education system is largely dominated by Nigerian academics, he said.

The former electoral umpire, who is also Chairman of the Committee on Internationalisation of Admissions into Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria, constituted by JAMB, stressed the need for urgent actions by the country's tertiary institutions to attract and retain both international students and staff.

He further encouraged the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, to support the Internationalisation of Nigeria's tertiary institutions by promoting the admission of foreign students.

While laying out the strategies for tertiary institutions to apply in order to boost the subscription from foreign students and lecturers, he urged them to “Advertise for international students through international newspapers, Magazines, Journals, institutional websites, and other On-line platforms.”

Jega also urged institutions in the country to Work out credit transfer mechanisms to facilitate credit recognition amongst tertiary institutions within and outside Nigeria in accordance with Arusha, Addis-Ababa, convention.

“Publish information on accredited programmes offered by them and the requirements for admission into such programmes; Work towards entrenching a stable academic calendar, and develop a zero tolerance for disruption of academic and research programmes,” he said.

He said the tertiary education system in Nigeria was the largest in Africa, and therefore should be an active player in the internationalisation of education in the continent, and indeed in the world, through the process of admissions amongst others.

Also speaking, the Registrar of JAMB, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, pledged to push for a holistic implementation of the recommendations of the committee, in line with the directive earlier given by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu.

Oloyede said the report addressed all issues including the formulation of a national policy on internationalisation of tertiary institutions in Nigeria, even as he called for the setting up of a national committee on internationalisation for relevant agencies to come together and draft the policy.

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