A few days ago, social media became flooded with pictures of some prominent politicians in Nigeria going to celebrate the graduation of their wards in far away universities such as the United Kingdom.

While the graduations called for a celebration, many Nigerians condemned the trend in which our politicians preach “buy or consume made-in-Nigeria” while they do the exact opposite. 

Others equally argued that this trend is why the Nigerian education sector seems to be neglected, with the frequent resultant strikes, like the one just called off last week by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU. However, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has urged the elites, or politicians to encourage their dependents to obtain their first degree in Nigeria before going for further studies abroad. 

JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede gave the advice in Abuja on Friday while speaking with newsmen. The registrar was speaking on the sidelines of a workshop on intensive Training and Sensitisation Forum on Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) for the 2017/2018 academic session. 

According to him, it will be worthwhile for the children to obtain the first degree in the country where the public and private institutions are of high quality and standard rather than study abroad at institutions that are of poor quality and low standard. 

"It is better for the elite in Nigeria to let their wards and children attend universities, higher institutions in Nigeria, at least for the first degree, but if they wish to go for Masters, Ph.D. and so on elsewhere, there is nothing bad about that." 

“But for the first degree, we have enough universities here – both public and private because when most of them go outside Nigeria to study, they do that at private institutions." 

“And I know countries in Africa where Nigerian students constitute 90 percent of the class in every set as if those institutions were set up for Nigerians." 

“What we are saying is that you have better value if you send your children to private universities in Nigeria than sending them to study at private universities of poor quality outside Nigeria,’’ he said. 

Mr. Oloyede called on owners of private universities to consider the economic situation in the country and make tuition fees affordable for parents. He said that the institutions were operating in a competitive world and that failure to check the excessive increase in tuition fees could force many of the schools to close shop.

“I believe that private institutions are established for a worthy purpose."

“I also believe that private institutions’ charges are high, but they are not as high as traveling outside the country and people still send a large number of students to inferior universities."

"If you care I will show you on my telephone, I was in Uganda, I was in a number of African countries about a month ago, and if you see the condition; I am disturbed by the fact that not only that the conditions were not conducive, but also because 90 percent of the students are from Nigeria."

“In some cases, you find them under tents taking courses," he lamented.   

Ishaq Oloyede

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