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$221m Spent By Nigerians on Foreign Education Between Dec 2021 & Feb 2022  – CBN Reveals

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In the wake of incessant strike actions by academic and non-academic unions in Nigeria, Nigerians have found solace in studying abroad to get adequate education. 

The Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), in a recent report, has now shown that Nigerians spent nothing less than $220.86m on foreign education in three months (between December 2021 and February 2022). 

According to the CBN data on the amount spent on educational service under the sectoral utilisation for transactions valid for foreign exchange for December 2021 to February 2022, in December 2021, the bank spent $90.67m on foreign education. Later in January, it spent a total of $60,202,730.84 on foreign education, while a sum of $69.9m was spent in February 2022.

According to a report by Punch, the CBN has not yet published the amount it spent in March, April and May, but has noted that the amount it indicated in December 2021 and January 2022 “might be subject to change in future.”

“This data from the apex bank shows that Nigerians remitted more than $220m to foreign academic institutions in three months without a notable “reciprocity” in form of inflows from foreign sources to the local education sector,” Punch reported.

The huge net dollar outflows has a two-way effect on the countries economy – an underinvestment in domestic education and creating pressure on the naira exchange rate. This is as a result of high demands for dollars to pay foreign educational institutions which affects Nigeria’s foreign reserves and increases pressure on the exchange rate.

Investors King gathered that over 70 thousand Nigerians were studying abroad as of 2018, according to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation. This is the highest from an African country.

During an interview with the media, National President, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, said the failure of the government to adequately fund education in Nigeria has negatively impacted the sector.

“You go to tertiary institutions and you see dilapidated buildings, lecturers and students alike are not happy, students do not have access to good equipment for practicals, at the end of the day, the system continues to churn out half-baked graduates.

“The only solution to this is for the government to invest fully in the sector. If we operate world-class schools in the country, there will be no need for people to go to other countries to obtain a good education”, he said.

The Convener, Reform Education sector, Olubunmi Olusanmi also noted that there is a need for the government to speedily increase its investment in the education sector.

“Education is the bedrock of any nation, you cannot neglect that sector and say you want to focus on infrastructure. Nigerians go to other countries to avoid some of the drama that goes on in our local schools.  Talks of strikes have been annual festivals and we have all seen it as normal.

 “We cannot continue to go on like this. The truth is that many individuals who have the resources or who can struggle to get the resources will continue to go out and get better quality education. The government needs to do better.”

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Education

Canada Raises Cost-of-Living Requirement for Study Permit Applicants

IRCC Announces Adjustments to Financial Guidelines and Student Work Hours Effective January 1, 2024

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The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has revealed changes to the cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants, effective January 1, 2024.

The new requirement, set at $20,635 for a single study permit applicant, more than doubles the existing amount of $10,000 established in the early 2000s.

The adjustment aims to align with the rising cost of living in Canada, preventing instances where students’ funds fall short of covering their expenses.

This financial guideline applies to study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024, and is in addition to the first-year tuition and travel costs.

Furthermore, IRCC states that the cost-of-living requirement will now be annually adjusted based on Statistics Canada’s updates to the low-income cut-off (LICO), reflecting the minimum income necessary in Canada.

In addition to the financial adjustments, IRCC has extended the waiver on the 20-hour-per-week work cap for international students until April 30, 2024.

This extension applies to students currently in Canada and those who submitted a study permit application by December 7, 2023.

The waiver, initially introduced on November 15, 2022, allows students to work more than the standard 20 hours per week during the academic term.

Minister Miller also announced two updates related to the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

The provision allowing international students to include online study terms toward their future PGWP, as long as it doesn’t exceed half of the total program duration, will be extended until September 1, 2024.

However, there will be no further special extensions for PGWPs beyond this period, emphasizing IRCC’s commitment to maintaining clarity and stability in its policies.

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Nigerian Federal Government Initiates 40% Deduction From Universities’ Internally Generated Revenues, Prompting Concerns

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The Nigerian federal government has embarked on the implementation of a controversial policy that imposes a 40 percent automatic deduction from the internally generated revenues (IGR) of federal universities and partially-funded institutions.

This decision, aligned with the Finance Circular dated December 20, 2021, aims to limit the annual budgetary expenditure derived from IGR.

In a letter issued by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Madein, the policy of a 40 percent auto-deduction was communicated to universities and institutions.

The letter, approved by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, was signed by the Director of Revenue & Investment in the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Felix Ore-ofe Ogundairo.

The new directive enforces that agencies and parastatals must remit up to 50 percent of their gross IGR, channeling the remaining 50 percent to the Sub-recurrent Account.

All statutory revenue lines, such as Tender Fees, Contractor’s Registration Fees, and Rent on Quarters, are to be remitted entirely to the Sub-recurrent Account.

While the federal government hinted at granting universities more autonomy to explore financing sources, this move has sparked controversy within the education sector.

Critics argue that the policy will stifle institutional activities, hinder critical projects, and potentially force institutions to increase fees, thereby impacting students and their families.

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has also voiced concerns, highlighting the potential repercussions for universities.

University authorities, meanwhile, argue that the policy contradicts the government’s perception of universities as revenue-generating entities while providing inadequate funding and inhibiting their development.

The policy raises questions about the government’s approach to education financing and may lead to increased financial strain on students.

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Femi Otedola Inaugurated as Chancellor of Augustine University, Donates N750 Million to Students

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Femi Otedola

Renowned Nigerian billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, was officially inaugurated as the Chancellor of Augustine University in Lagos on Thursday, representing a significant milestone in the institution’s history.

The inauguration ceremony was a moment of distinction and philanthropy with Otedola taking to his verified Instagram page to announce his new role and his remarkable gesture of benevolence.

In response to the prevailing challenging economic conditions, Otedola donated N750 million to the university.

He distributed N1 million to each of the 750 students at Augustine University, expressing his desire to alleviate the financial burdens of the students’ families.

In his Instagram statement, Otedola said, “I hope this donation of Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira assists the plight of the parents of our students in this difficult time.”

Augustine University, founded in 2015, selected Otedola as its Chancellor on April 7, 2022.

The university’s spokesperson, Nicholas Obayi, noted that Otedola’s appointment was richly deserved, given his unwavering commitment to philanthropic causes.

Otedola’s installation as Chancellor not only brings honor to Augustine University but also exemplifies his dedication to uplifting educational institutions and supporting the aspirations of Nigerian youth.

His generous donation is a testament to his belief in the transformative power of education and his commitment to improving the lives of students during challenging economic times.

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