Every individual wants a fair chance at getting a better life.
For many African students, going abroad for higher education is the right move and good start. One would wonder why? Here are some quick stats, Africa has no less than 1000 universities and higher educational institutions with a country like Nigeria having as high as 152. So availability of education is not the issue here, so what is? 1
According to Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), only ten African schools made it to the list of the best 1,000 universities in the world. Bearing in mind that the ranking is based on a range of indicators such as quality of education, faculty and alumni employment making up 75% of its criteria. It is save to assume that many African students chose to study abroad because of the expected opportunities such move would offer. 2
A research conducted by the ICEF Monitor posits that many African students are motivated to study abroad due to career goals and and the prospect of improved career opportunities for graduate students. From the survey conducted by ICEF Monitor, almost 29% of the respondents see study abroad as a requirement to gain entry to their intended profession and improving their career prospects. 3
It would be naive to assume that Africans go to study abroad just because of career growth. In the same vein, many African students use this as an opportunity to migrate permanently. America and some European countries offer post-study visa after graduation, in some cases, as long as two years. This is a way out for many African students.
Migration begets opportunities. This seemingly innocuous phrase is the guiding principle for many Africans living in Africa. The prospects migration offers is one too many to state. According to research carried out by the World Bank in 2015, ‘The average poverty rate for sub-Saharan Africa stands at about 41 percent, and of the world’s 28 poorest countries, 27 are in sub-Saharan Africa all with a poverty rate above 30 percent’. Believe it or not, these are alarming statistics and the reality of life in Africa. Yes, Africa is blessed with countless natural and human resources, but poverty faced on the African continent is multidimensional. 4
Multidimensional poverty that brings about simultaneous deprivations in education, consumption, and access to basic infrastructure. This is dreadful and the day to day situation of an average African.
Many Africans view studying abroad as an investment which is not exactly cheap. For every investment, a return on investment is expected. Bearing this in mind, Africans who go to study abroad either expect the returns in the form of improved career prospects or advancement in career or the global mobility the education got provides.
In the long run it all amounts to one important goal, having a better chance at life. Whether or not this is reality for African students who intend on studying abroad. It would not be far-fetched to say that is the underlying reason.