Affordable education abroad

Nigeria is a country of about 140 million people: a fast growing country with an almost vibrant economy. The country over the years has been beset by corruption. The social fabric has been in a deplorable condition, leading to unimaginative placements by world index standards.

Education is vital in human existence; it is a tool that helps the government, the private sector and informal units. For Nigeria as a country to move forward we need qualitative and substantive education. Over the years, the education system has been in disarray and the future of our children is in jeopardy. The efforts of our founding fathers to make Nigeria’s universities and polytechnics strong seem to have gone down the drain.

The latest ranking of World Universities, places the first University in Nigeria, the University of Ife, at a distant six thousand three hundred thirty-four (6,334). Help seems to have been found in foreign education. Countries like: USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Finland, Japan, etc. They have a good educational system. Acquiring education outside the country is expensive per se. The Average Tuition Fees (Bsc) of some selected countries (not including living expenses) for Undergraduates are: US$8000, UK 6000 Pounds, Singapore $4000, Malta $20 000, Malaysia $1000, Ireland 6000 Euro, Norway Free, Sweden Free, Germany Free, Denmark Free, Finland Free etc. These rates when converted to Naira are: Malaysia N130,000, UK N1,400,000, US N1,040,000, Malta N2,600,000, etc.

Free education, at all levels, is available in some countries in Europe: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Germany. In Sweden, all levels of education are free. The Swedish system includes not only traditional universities, but also different types of teacher training, healthcare training, technical training; etc The financing of education is the responsibility of: the central government, regional authorities and private interests. All higher education institutions are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, except University Sciences (Ministry of Agriculture). Higher education is divided into undergraduate study (combined towards a first degree) and postgraduate study and research. Sweden has 39 accredited higher education institutions offering structured degree programmes. The English language is a mode of study in some universities. Foreign students can work and study. Sweden has a bustling economy with a very high per capita income. Nigerian students should take this opportunity to study in Sweden.

In Finland, all higher education institutions are subject to the authority of the Ministry of Education, Research and Ecclesiastical Affairs. Higher education in Norway is mainly offered at state institutions: universities, university colleges, state colleges, and art colleges. The bachelor’s degree is completed after 3 years of study, the master’s is completed after 2 years in duration, and the doctorate is after 3 years in duration. Education is free at all levels in Finland. Foreign students can study in English as some universities and colleges offer their courses in English. Students can work and study in Finland. There is no specific minimum wage, because there is no legislation in this regard.

There are four types of institutions offering higher education in Malaysia, namely: Local Public University, International Universities, Private Universities and over 500 Public Higher Education Institutions (PHEIS). The Systematic Education Group of Colleges operates eight private higher education institutions (PHEIS). The main objective of Systematic is to provide training to the graduates of the school for their future career in Accounting, Business, Computer Science, Marketing, administration, Banking, secretarial and Commerce and industry. Systematic has produced world-class students in professional courses such as LCCI, ACCA, CIMA, ICSA, CIMA, ABE, and CIM. One good reason why international students should study in Malaysia is that holders of a student pass or permit can work while studying to supplement their livelihood. Students can work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours per week. Students have options to work in: local companies, multinational companies and embassies. Getting jobs in the multinational companies will depend on your previous qualifications and the salary range of $1,500 to $2,500 per month. Students getting a job at a local company is easy: salary ranges from $800 to $1500. Accommodation costs from $65/month to $150. The country is very affordable to live in. Many Nigerians are already in Malaysia studying for different programs.

Singapore has an education system similar to the UK. At the Tertiary level, it has three Universities and 7 other institutions affiliated with both local and foreign Universities, and 4 polytechnics. The full-time enrollment of the Universities is around 40,000, of which 20,000 are women. Tuition fees for international students are generally 10% higher than those for Singaporean students. Tuition depends on the discipline you offer, specialized disciplines like medicine and dentistry cost more than science, humanities and law. Medicine costs between $8,500 and $10,000 per session: humanities, law, social sciences, etc. it costs between $2,500 and $6,000 for a bachelor’s degree. Tuition for the 4-year Polytechnic ranges from $1,350 to $2,500. The Singapore government heavily subsidizes your higher education through the tuition scholarship. The Tuition Loan Scheme helps pay 75-80% of tuition fees, making higher education accessible to nearly everyone. If you can’t repay your loan after graduation, you’ll have to work another year or two to pay off the balance. Singapore’s economy is so bustling. It ranks 20th in the table of richest countries with a per capita income of $24,500/year. Living in Singapore is cheap compared to earned income; and it seems that higher education in Singapore is affordable for all capable students.

Scholarships help students who want to study abroad to upgrade with less financial burden. Some examples are: British Council Scholarship Programs, Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Scheme, Commonwealth Scientific Council, UNESCO, Ford Foundation, African Education Trust, Rotary Foundation Ambassadors Scholarship, etc. British Chevening Scholarships: These are funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (the British Foreign Office). They offer scholarships every year in more than 150 countries around the world. This scholarship scheme provides fully-funded Masters programs for talented graduates and youngsters from Nigeria. Chevening has since inception produced over 800 Nigerian scholars. This figure places the country first in sub-Saharan Africa. British Council Scholarship Schemes – Citizens of around 70 countries are eligible for full study at postgraduate level through the British Council Scholarship Scheme, which is administered through its Overseas Offices. The scheme is advertised through the British Council in the countries in which it operates. Details are available from British Council offices. Ford Foundation – International Scholarship Program (IFP) provides support for up to three years of formal postgraduate study. Scholars must be citizens of Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Chile, Peru, Russia, and Vietnam.

Certificates abroad have a very high rating in the country. Most of the people when they return to the country with their certificates always get higher positions. A friend of mine who works in a bank went to the UK to get his MBA. When he returned, his bank promoted him and not until two weeks later, he got another job (paying double his salary in his old office).

The dream of studying abroad can be achieved through proper planning. With free schools in Germany, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway, you can study for your PhD, MSC, MBA, Diploma, BSc, LLB, etc. without paying tuition. Your first step to study abroad is to get the right information: browse university sites, country sites, scholarship sites, etc. Get prospects from universities or colleges, review courses and syllabi. Get plenty of admissions before you choose.

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