Thousands of Nigerian students abroad are currently faced with serious challenges on account of the coronavirus pandemic and the growing possibility that the disease could be around for much longer.
Burdened already by exorbitant fees, the global health challenge has dislocated their study, leaving them stranded in host nations. But resorting to Nigeria’s ailing educational sector is a grim choice they may not want to make.
According to a report by Nairametrics, a financial resource company based in Nigeria, international undergraduate students pay a yearly £13,394 for classroom taught courses, and £15,034 and £24,169 respectively for laboratory and clinical courses. Postgraduate students pay £13,442, £15,638, and £20,956, respectively for the classroom, laboratory, and clinical-based courses. For MBA students, the tuition is £18,226 on the average.
In addition to the tuition, the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS) noted that the average yearly cost of living outside of London for students is £12,056. To study in London, Nigerian students part with about £16,000 per year. For visa purposes, international students pay at least £1,265 for each month of stay while those outside London pay at least £1,000 per month to prove that they can cover the cost of living in the UK.
Study in-uk.com notes that undergraduate fees for international students from outside the EU begin at around £10,000 per year. At the postgraduate level, they start at around £12,000, and if you wish to study medicine or MBA, you may have to pay about £32,000 per year.[b]The average living cost for international students is £12,180 per year. This can be much lower or higher, depending on where in the UK you wish to study. [/b]For example, in London, living expenses are considerably higher than the equivalent cost in a different city such as Liverpool or Birmingham.
As of 2015, a student in the UK paid $35,710 on the average yearly (tuition and living expenses). According to one estimate, Nigerian parents spend above the Federal Government’s yearly budget of $750 million to educate their children in the UK.
Another estimate puts the total average cost of studying in the UK at £22,200 or $31,380 per year. Going by the 2017 estimates, Nigerian parents spent $423 million in the UK or N152 billion!
But with the global economic decline occasioned by the pandemic, many Nigerian students may have a hard time paying their way through schools abroad.
The Federal Government and many states in the country have since reviewed their 2020 budgets. Worse still, the naira’s value has depreciated. As at Sunday, a dollar exchanged officially for N385.3777 and N440 at the black market. The pound was officially N478.5179 and N553 at the black market.
Should 11,000 Nigerian students in the UK pay the tuition of £10,000 each (at £1/N478.5179), about N52 billion would have been spent on tertiary education overseas, excluding other expenses like accommodation.
AGAIN, returning to enrol in Nigerian universities, especially public ones, seems nightmarish on account of worsening standards. The government has also slashed the 2020 budget by N318 billion, from N10.594 trillion to N10.276 trillion. There is consequently a reduced focus on education. The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) had recommended that 15-20 per cent of the total budget should go to the education sector. At a glance, 6.48 per cent of the 2020 budget was allocated to education; 7.11 per cent in 2019; 7.14 per cent in 2018; 7.27 per cent in 2017; and 9.20 per cent in 2016.