Former Chairman of th Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) professor Attahiru Jega on Thursday, unveiled report of a survey, showing an abysmal 1,856 foreign students attending Nigerian tertiary institutions.
The figures were polled from a total of 1,132,795 students who responded in a survey involving 194 tertiary institutions in the country.
Jega while unveiling a new roadmap to enable the federal government take steps in internationalising foreign students in the country, scored Nigeria low on the internationalization index.
“Out of 194 tertiary institutions which responded to the survey we carried out, only 1,856 foreign students school in Nigeria out of a total of 1,132,795 students,” Jega who chaired the internationalisation Committee said.
While presenting the report to management of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB), initiators of the survey, Jega said there were only 437 foreign academic staff polled from a total of 5,604 academic staff in these institutions.
He said foreign students make up 0.18percent in Universities, 0.29percent in Polytechnics and 0.04percent in Colleges of Education.
“The percentage of all foreign students in Nigeria’s tertiary education system as at the 2018-2019 session is 0.16percent, with regards to academic staff, the percentage of foreign academics in Nigerian universities is 0.008percent and 1.64percent in polytechnics and 0.18percent in the colleges of education, an indication that teaching staff in Nigerian tertiary education system is largely dominated by Nigerian academics,” he stated.
The former INEC Boss who was also an Ex- President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) warned that to effectively attract and retain international students and staff, stakeholders in the sector must key into measures to create deliberate policies to promote admission of foreign students.
Other recommendations provided by the Jega led Committee to boost internalization of foreign students, includes the need to place advertorials through international newspapers, magazines, journals, international websites and other online platforms.
Also recommended was the need to publish information on accredited programmes offered by our institutions, including the requirements for admission into such programmes.
According to Jega, tertiary education system in Nigeria, being the largest in Africa, should be an active player in the internationalization of education in the continent and indeed the world.
He explained that internationalisation means a series of international activities such as academic mobility for students and teachers, international linkages, partnership, joint research initiatives among others.
He said,“It also means cooperating with tertiary institutions in other countries to reform and modernize the curricula and pedagogy and the delivery of education to other countries using a variety of face-to-face, distance learning techniques and new types of arrangements such as branch campuses or franchises”
Meanwhile, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of JAMB, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede said the policy was part of programmes being mulled by the federal government to reform the tertiary education sector.
He announced that hostel facilities in twelve tertiary institutions in Nigeria would be upgraded by JAMB as part of the process to drive the policy.
Prof. Oloyede said, “this has been one of the cardinal objectives of the federal ministry of education and we will do everything in our powers to implement it, one of the first steps would be to set up a committee on the internationalisation of students in our tertiary institutions”