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Floundering in Nigeria, flowering abroad

Statistics reveal that approximately one in four students applying to university in Nigeria will get admission and a larger amount won’t be able to, not because they do not qualify to but because there isn’t enough space for them.

Some of those who manage to get spaces end up underperforming because of several stress factors or unavailability of study materials.

Also, getting into the university does not guarantee enjoying the privilege of quality education. When students struggle to finish, some come out with a third class, get the opportunity to gain admission to study in developed countries and become stars. What then happened?

Research has proven that learning environments play a crucial role in a student’s success. Or else, how do we explain a student who has gone through a Nigerian University, failed woefully and then gets to America and performs so well academically, that they begin to question what happened while in Nigeria.

Several factors have been seen as responsible for this problem.

An environment bewildered by inefficient power supply especially in universities, in the context of this article, is also a factor responsible for poor performance in schools because, without power, especially at night, reading is not fun.

Imagine having 24hour power supply in the university, the advantages are endless.

Another reason why a student will leave Nigeria and soar outside the country is because of the quality of libraries and research facilities available in tertiary institutions in these developed countries.

Several universities and institutions of higher learning in Nigeria are not structurally equipped, they lack the wherewithal to motivate the students. They also feature dilapidated lecture classes, overcrowded accommodation (where available), unmotivated lecturers whose salaries are either unpaid or have not been reviewed for years, unequipped clinics to mention a few are some of the challenging factors to the academic performance of the average undergraduate.

It is therefore not surprising that once they are opportune to study outside the country, the factors that limited their ability to succeed in Nigeria are no longer there, their potentials begin to find expression, and what they had always possessed but never found adequate opportunity for expression comes to the fore, and then they begin to shine in another man’s land.

In universities in developed countries, there is also the advantage of sharing ideas without fear of intimidation for speaking one’s truth, and of course one is open to be positively ‘criticised’, and not the other way round.

Here in Nigeria, any attempt at such may even lead to being victimised as the freedom of speech is alien to this terrain.

Also, the back and forth by ASUU and the government has devastating effects on students who attend federal and state universities. Their desire to further their education is dampened and their morale low because when two elephants fight, it is the grass that feels the pain (the grass in this instance being the students).

Their desire to graduate is truncated, and many students begin to question their abilities. A student, who has gone through this hardship, even though he/she graduates, may not find self-expression because even when they graduate, the struggle continues.

Most graduates find out that even those with better grades haven’t secured a job, then where lies their hope?

When such graduate gets an opportunity to travel and begins to excel, it becomes easy to conclude that all that had held them down was an environment that did not work.

Things changed, not because they were born a dullard but because of a changed environment and their situation naturally changed.

Such a person may now be studying for a masters degree in a school that never runs out of power, lecturers who are well paid and are willing to go the extra mile for their students, who will call to check up on them to know how they are faring. The list goes on. This is not the same where he/she came from.

From various dilapidated buildings in some universities, to teachers who are not motivated and underpaid, to the need for investment in the educational sector, the right environment for the student to thrive and a whole lot more, for some Nigerian students to fail at home and succeed abroad is a reason to worry and ask questions.

Tackling and finding long lasting solutions to the challenges afore mentioned, will produce positive results in the educational system of Nigeria, and as a result produce graduates who will excel both home and away. Not floundering in Nigeria and flowering abroad.

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