• Monday, June 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

UK varsities staff face job loss over drop in Nigerian students

Countries with the highest number of international students

At least 15 universities in the UK have announced job cuts following a substantial drop in enrollment from foreign students, especially Nigerians.

Overseas students comprised 24 percent of all students in UK varsities during the 2021/2022 academic year. However, early acceptance data from Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reveals a 37 percent decrease in overseas enrollments for the coming financial year.

If matters persist, about 71 percent of applications from Nigerian students will be lost, The Times report and hundreds of dozens of university staff are at risk of losing their jobs as higher institutions scramble to save money.

Northumbria University said the cuts were necessary because of “a sudden reduction of the number of students” arriving in the UK from Nigeria.

Earlier in March, over 120 staff at Sheffield Hallam University received “risk of redundancy” letters, giving them till March 18 to voluntarily resign or apply for “a limited number of roles.” In February, The University of Kent had proposed shaving off 58 jobs along with nine courses to tackle financial challenges.

It was in the same month that Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) reported that applications for undergraduate degrees to the UK dropped from over 3,000 applications to just over 1,500, a 46 percent deficit.

Nigerian students were boycotting UK universities owing to a combination of the recently implemented policy by the government restricting international students from bringing in dependants through the student visa route to cut back on spiralling migration numbers, and inflationary pressures on the country’s currency, which continues to lose against the pound.

“I’ve been in higher education for 30 years and senior leaders are more worried than I’ve ever seen them,” said John Rushforth, executive secretary of the Committee of University Chairs.

“Bankruptcy is a realistic possibility for some universities, which are being pushed to do really difficult things to stave off the prospect,” he told the Independent.

Cynthia Tewogbade, student welfare coordinator for the Nigerian Student Union UK, told the Telegraph that, “The new dependency policy is the main reason why students are now enrolling at universities in other countries like Australia, Canada and in Europe.

“The UK can be a lonely place. Not having a familiar face around has deterred students from coming over, especially as many suffer from isolation and a big culture shock when they arrive.”