Why foreign exchange loss through overseas studies worry experts
The quest for quality education in the country has consistently been on the increase. The situation is not helped by the huge number of candidates who yearly write the university admission examination but are very unlucky to get placements in the nation’s 158 citadels of higher learning.
It has been observed that government loses huge foreign exchange to overseas countries through the fees Nigerian students pay to acquire academic certificates.
Some education watchers and stakeholders have expressed serious concern that an increasing number of Nigerian parents now encourage their children to study abroad even within Africa because of infrastructural challenges which subsequent governments have failed to address.
Florence Obi, former Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar, disclosed that African governments in general and Nigeria in particular have failed to realise the huge potential inherent in the development of education as a possible huge foreign exchange earner for the economy.
Obi noted that it is instructive that government today embraces education as a business as this development would spur innovation and creative production toward solving the huge foreign reserve loss to other countries.
According to Obi, “A lot of the problems we have in Africa can be solved creatively if we are practical in our approach by creating support solution for education”.
Obi is, however, saddened by the fact that African government does not consider education as a business even though it is such a huge avenue for foreign exchange.
Isaac Adeyemi, former vice Chancellor, Bells University of Science and Technology Otta, Ogun opines that why don’t we consider education as business? The problem is that if government is running education, they run it down; the facility are poor and they don’t service orientation toward education because if they have service orientation toward education, they will do it in such a way customers would be attracted to that educational institution,” he said.
Adeyemi urged government to consider creating an education hub somewhere, noting that with the huge resources at the country’s disposal, government can put in the infrastructure, make electricity stable, good roads, water and other social amenities and invite some of the top universities to set up campuses there including Nigerian universities.
“Once these top universities are certain of the presence of the necessary infrastructure and enabling environment, the universities will come and once they establish their presence in the country, this will attract not only Nigerians, but people from all over that globe and that means education has become a business and it will contribute to the economy,” he said.
The university don added that the solution to the huge loss and lack of foreign patronage of universities is for government to toe the line of technology and have a hub that would be dedicated to education.
“Lots of people need education but because the environment is not suitable, they take their children abroad, and by so doing the country is losing huge foreign exchange,” Adeyemi added.