Israel Adejimi*, 16 is a young guy who has always wanted to go to a university. He wanted to study one of the engineering courses and therefore picked the University of Jos as his first choice.
Like many other young students who share his ambition to proceed to higher institutions, he took the 2022 JAMB, and scored 184. His school of choice, UNIJOS in previous years has often required a minimum of 180 for admission, therefore, he still has a chance of admission after post UTME evaluation. Nonetheless, he would not be applying to the school.
Although downcast after receiving his JAMB result because he expected to score higher, today, Israel is not. Rather than retake the JAMB or go on to take his chances with UNIJOS, as his parents had previously planned, he is patiently waiting for his polytechnic of choice to release their post UTME form. His interest in attending a university has waned.
According to Israel, all he has to do is be focused on completing his National Diploma, then proceed to HIgher National Diploma(HND).
“I can’t imagine sitting at home for six months without school. I’d rather go to a polytechnic and finish what I want to finish on time. I don’t think polytechnics even strike this much.”
While speaking to this reporter, Israel inferred that a lot of people are no longer discriminating against HND holder; rather they are now placed on the same level as BSc holder.
“Why waste my time when I can finish on time and still get the same recognition”
Israel is not alone in thoughts like this. Esther Adeoye, another young lady who spoke to this reporter stated that rather than struggle with university admissions this year, she’ll apply to her polytechnic of choice.
Esther has a JAMB score of 200 and is not willing to spend a year waiting at home, only to be delayed in school. Esther, just like Israel, is fully embracing the idea of going to her second choice- a polytechnic. She was not even contemplating the idea of trying a state university.
Other students with the financial means are also moving outside the country due to the prolonged ASUU strike. Students are moving to neighboring countries like the Republic of Benin and as far as The United States (USA), and The United Kingdom. For the travel agencies who aid these admission, business is booming for them.
According to Mr. Babs, an education travel agent who spoke to this reporter, a lot of university students and aspirants have been enquiring about moving to other countries for their education, and he has been able to help some of them with the admission process, especially new students. For his business, the strike gives a marketing angle and he is not afraid to exploit it.
For his business’s advertisement, Mr. Babs used the prompt, “are you tired of the prolonged strike? Come study with us at the Republic of Benin”, to entice interested people who want to make the move.
Across social media pages, students have also taken to announcing their move to other countries as the strike lingers. A Twitter user with the name, @lawrenn announced her exit with a caption, “ Bye , ASUU you can strike as you want. I don comot for una”.
Already, recent statistics from UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency as published by Premium Times revealed that the number of Nigerians studying in the United Kingdom (UK) has risen from 13,020 in the 2019/2020 academic session to 21,305 by the 2020/2021 session. Also the data showed that Nigeria is the third non-EU country with the most students in the UK with 21,305 students currently enrolled in UK institutions, ahead of the United States with 19,220 students.
It is important to note that the lingering ASUU strike is encouraging apathy to Nigerian public Universities. According to a report by All City News, over 5 million Nigerians in oversea universities are spending nothing less than $28 billion at the detriment of university students here in the country. The report also states that the Central Bank of Nigeria a few months prior said Nigerians had spent $221m on foreign education in three months, between December 2021 and February 2022.
Oke Abdullah, a final year student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, one of the institutions that joined the strike stated that if he had the opportunity to, he would transfer to a foreign university to complete his studies.
“I have my ND and opted to obtain a B. Tech degree at the time because of the valuation and comparison that often exists between HND and BSc. I had to start from 100 level when Direct Entry didn’t work out”.
Although Abdullah confessed that he followed through with what he wanted when he chose to pursue a BSc. rather than an HND, he is not so happy with the strike.
Another student, Salako Emmanuel of Ekiti State University did not hesitate to answer that he would gladly take any opportunity to move to another country for his education, rather than stay in Nigeria. Emmanuel, however, has mixed feelings about going to a polytechnic. According to him, a university environment and a university degree opens more doors and offers better opportunities.