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How much Nigeria spends on foreign education and how to fix it

In a country where teachers are not being taken care of, not properly trained, and owed months and years of salaries.

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It is no longer news that the corruption-soaked Nigerian education sector has fallen deep into a state of disrepair, over the years. In a country where teachers are not being taken care of, not properly trained, and owed months and years of salaries, the direct implication is certainly what we have now in Nigeria – a scary one.

For a sector which has become the means through which foreign nations continue to determine the “progress”, or otherwise, of Africans, it is quite surprising that the situation is being taken with such reckless abandon. Students’ quests for foreign education has constituted a great deal of financial drain to the continent, especially because the diasporas tend not to transform the brain drain to brain gain.

As at 2015, Nigeria had about 125 universities and yet, majority of the students seeking admission to higher education could not have access, as less than half gained admission into the universities. As aptly captured by the Brookings Institute, Nigeria has one of the world’s lowest levels of social spending, resulting in poor school infrastructure, lack of school maintenance, inadequate learning materials, and ill-qualified teachers. According to the annual report of the Central Bank of Nigeria (2015), expenditure on education fell by 45.7 %.

Students’ brain drain, money drain and the implication for development

According to the 2016 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the number of African students seeking higher education abroad grew from 343,370 (in 2006) to 427,311 (in 2014) constituting about 24 % growth in students’ mobility abroad. From 2013 to 2014 alone, it rose by 9%. Of the all the countries sending students abroad, Nigeria occupies the topmost position with 71,351 students. Nigerian students constituted about a quarter of all the United States enrolled African students (IIE Open Doors 2016). The outbound students from Nigeria grew by 45% from 2010 to 2013, with the United Kingdom being the highest recipient of 17,973 constituting more than 25% of all Nigerian student migrants. Nigeria is one of the top ten countries sending students to the UK. The other top destinations that have received over 2,000 Nigerian students are Ghana (13,919 [19.5 %]), the United States of America (9,786 [13.7 %]), Malaysia (4,943 [6.9 %]), Ukraine (3,328 [4.7 %]), Canada (3,257 [4.6 %]), and South Africa (2,525 [3.5 %]).

For Nigeria and its economic challenges, this large number of students definitely causes a drain on the economy. This is more so that most of these students attend the UK universities considered to have the highest average student tuition fees in the industrialized world. This is apart from the living expenses and accommodation. On the average, international undergraduate students pay an annual £13,394 for classroom taught courses, £15,034 and £24,169 respectively for laboratory and clinical courses. Postgraduate students pay, on the average, £13,442, £15,638 and £20,956, respectively for classroom, laboratory and clinical based courses. Master of Business Administration (MBA) students pay £18,226 on the average. According to the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS), the average annual cost of living outside of London for students is £12,056. To study in London, students would have paid about £15,180 annually. For visa purposes, international students pay about £1,265 for each month of stay while those outside London pay about £1,015 per month in order to prove that they can cover cost of living in the UK.

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It takes an average of about $33,000 per student to study in the USA. This is about ₦12,177,000 (calculated at ₦369 to a dollar) per student annually. For the more than 10,000 Nigerian students in the USA, the total cost is about more than ₦15 billion annually per student. This brings the total amount of money drained abroad to about 92% of the total budget for all educational levels in the Nigerian educational system in 2016.

One can imagine how much is drained out of the nation when the costs of all foreign students are calculated. And in a nation where the minimum wage is N19, 800, one would have thought that only those in the very high echelon of the Nigerian society are the ones who can afford to send their children abroad. But, this is not totally true! Students of not so wealthy parents also struggle to travel out for foreign education.

The need to prevent this huge economic Loss

Indeed, Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions remain in perpetual deteriorating condition in spite of the efforts at increasing capacity by building more universities. The institutions are severely overcrowded with sky-rocketing student to teacher ratios and chronic faculty shortages.

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In saner societies, we have the best of minds being teachers, ensuring that the chain of knowledge is not polluted by some incapable hands. In Nigeria, teachers are the most indigent, most derided lot in the polity. The decline in the value of teachers is indeed a troubling one.

So, one wonders whether it is possible for the diasporas to come back to work in the state in which these universities are. This is more so that the fears of the diasporas cannot be allayed given the enormity of challenges they would face if they come home. Some of these challenges include, but are not limited to, corruption, political patronage, security risks, lack of access to productive inputs, lack of sufficient government stimulus, inconsistent government policies, high rate of unemployment, low wages and poor state or lack of infrastructure.

Overcrowding at institutions and inadequate funding resources are contributing factors to the decline in the quality of higher education. The system has far outgrown the resources available to it to continue offering high-level quality education. Other factors contributing to the decline in quality are the unstable environment due to frequent strikes by students or staff, the quality of students admitted to programs, and the quality of the academics recruited. These factors need to be taken into consideration in rethinking quality promotion.

As noted by a corruption scholar, “limited access to education has no doubt contributed to the use of bribes and personal connections to gain coveted places at universities, with some admissions officials reportedly working with agents to obtain bribes from students. In 2013, Transparency International reported that about 30 percent of Nigerians surveyed said they had paid a bribe in the education sector.

Extremely worrying is also that something as basic as electricity is still lacking in Nigeria! In 2018! This makes teaching and learning extremely uncomfortable and cumbersome. Foreign schools have the edge over Nigerian higher institutions, as they have constant electricity and a peaceful atmosphere, among other basic amenities which often suit the desire of an average Nigerian.

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Until Nigeria fixes issues on corruption, electricity, budget planning, intelligent prioritization and channeling of resources, the hope that more and more youths, our financial and human manpower will not be sold to foreign lands, is indeed a pipe dream.

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Commodities

OPEC+ forced to delay talks as disagreement in the cartel deepens

OPEC+ was forced to reschedule its meeting as it could not reach a unanimous decision on key policies.

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Saudi, Russia agree to cut oil by 20 million barrel, Further oil production cut required to keep oil price above $40 in 2020 , OPEC + deal to boost Nigeria’s earnings by $2.8 Billion

The OPEC+ talks have been delayed for 2 days after the meeting ended on Monday without an agreement among its members with respect to the production cuts next year.

The meeting however, ended with 3 of the group’s heavyweights; Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) holding different opinions as to how to handle things going forward. This outcome shows the deep division that exists within the cartel after several hours of talk did not achieve any result.

The meeting with OPEC+ was scheduled for resumption for tomorrow, but a rather surprising announcement came later in the day saying that the meetings had been moved forward to December 3 as more talks are needed.

According to a report by Oilprice.com, Saudi Arabia, regarded as the predominant and perhaps only swing producer in the group is said to favour an extension of the current level of oil production cuts, while Russia, the country that went against the deal in March over a similar issue, is said to favour a gradual increase in production starting in January.

On its own, the UAE, OPEC’s third-most prolific oil producer, is in support of extending the production cuts as-is into January and beyond only after all other OPEC members comply with their cuts. This was earlier alluded to by the UAE Energy Minister a couple of weeks ago.

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The run-up to the meeting saw new cracks emerge in the relationship between UAE and other members of the cartel. Some informal discussions are expected to continue amongst members before the OPEC+ meeting on Thursday.

Ministers of the cartel are discussing whether to increase output in January as planned or maintain the current level of production levels for another 3 months. Some members of the group think the market is still too fragile to accept an increase in production, while others want to take advantage of the current rise in crude oil prices to increase production and boost their revenue.

The UAE’s Energy Ministry later issued a statement stressing the fact that it had always been a committed member of OPEC.

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According to OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report, the UAE either met or exceeded its 2.59 million BPD quota in September and October, but fell short of its goal in August.

What you should know

  • OPEC+ which is no stranger to disagreements had planned to ease some of its output cuts at the beginning of 2021 in anticipation of the recovery of the global economy after it had made huge production cuts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which had badly hit global oil demand.
  • Although a breakthrough in Covid-19 vaccine development had seen oil prices hit an 8-month high, the second wave of infections particularly in Europe and the Americas has led to new lockdown measures that are affecting fuel consumption.

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Funds Management

The pros and cons of Pension Fund Administrator transfer

Here, we highlight some of the advantages and disadvantages of transferring from one Pension Fund Administrator to another.

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pension, October 2020 Pension Fund Performance Ranking

After my first article on the best pension fund managers in Nigeria, a few people have commented differently on the article.

In response to the comments, I have decided to do another article on the pros and cons of Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) transfer. Here are some of the advantages

Better Performance

The major reason for any investment is to make gains. Most investment gains are measured with investment performance. When a fund manager performs poorly relative to his or her peers and relative to the benchmark, he is due for a change. Therefore, an advantage of transferring from one PFA to another is that if the fund manager you transfer to has a history of consistently outperforming the peers and benchmark, you will benefit from the new fund manager’s higher performance.

Alignment with Risk Appetite

Each investor or RSA holder has his or her risk appetite and risk tolerance and different asset types or classes are suitable for different risk appetite. By looking through the portfolio structure of different PFAs, it is possible to know which PFA’s asset allocation best aligns with your risk appetite. Therefore, you get the advantage of aligning the PFA’s asset allocation to your risk appetite by transferring to the PFA whose asset allocation is in agreement to your risk make up.

Fund Manager Fee Management

Although the National Pension Commission, PenCom, has guidelines about the type of fees that fund managers should charge, there are slight disparities in fees charged by different PFAs. By reviewing the fee charts of different PFAs, you may be able to transfer to a PFA in such a way that you save on fees without sacrificing other beneficial services.

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Experienced fund manager

It has been said that in fund management, asset allocation is everything. A fund’s performance depends so much on the asset allocation of the fund manager. Experience plays a big role in asset allocation. So, by transferring to a more experienced PFA, you stand the chance of benefiting from the experience of a fund manager through his asset allocation prowess.

There are also disadvantages from transferring from one PFA to another, below are some of them:

  • Loss of Relationship: A disadvantage to switching from one PFA to another is that you may lose the relationship you have created or built with your old PFA and need some time to create that same relationship with the new PFA.
  • Loss of market rally: When you switch PFAs, your old PFA has to transfer your account balance to the new PFA. Transferring from one PFA to another creates a gap in investment and you may miss any market rally that may occur during that gap. There is usually a cut off date for such transfers. So, if there is a market rally, by way of price increases within the gap period, you will miss out on that rally.

Conclusion

It is not mandatory that you transfer your RSA during a given transfer window, if you are happy with your current PFA’s performance, fees, etc, then stick with them, after all, past performance is not a guarantee for future performance and the devil you know, may be better than the angel you do not know.

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Business

FG launches health promotion strategy policies

With an eye on boosting Nigeria’s National Health Policy commitment, FG has urged Nigerians to adopt prescribed health practices.

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Ministry of Health to launch electronic system for National Health Insurance Scheme, We plan to make migration of doctors unattractive - Health Minister, COVID-19: India donates $50 million worth essential medicines to Nigeria, others, Second case of Covid-19 now tests negative

The FG has urged households in Nigeria to adopt the health practices prescribed in a series of healthcare-related documents in order to reduce poor health habits in Nigerians.

This was disclosed by Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire on Monday at the presentation of the health documents, which are:

  • Revised National Health Promotion Policy (2019).
  • The National Strategic Plan for Health Promotion 2020-2024.
  • The Counselling Flip Chart on Key Household Practices.
  • The Knowledge Management Guideline for Health Promotion 2020-2024.
  • The Counselling Flip Chart on Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing.

The Minister said that poor health habits are still common with most Nigerians and could be changed by adopting safe practices.

“The policy documents concur that health promotion is Nigeria’s means to reduce the burden of disease through behaviour and lifestyle changes, but the reality around the institutionalization of health promotion does not yet support the contention.

“Going forward, we shall make diligent efforts to uncover challenges around health promotion and programming. We have developed policy and strategic documents that should see health promotion become a contributor to the achievement of the health-related Sustainable Development Goal 3, and attainment of Universal Health Coverage.

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“We must also realise that addressing the question of the social determinants of health and achieving health equity requires actions and partnerships, which stretches beyond the health sector.’’

What you should know

  • The National Health Promotion Policy 2019 augments Nigeria’s Nigeria Health Policy by ensuring commitments to proper service delivery in healthcare for Nigerians.
  • The National Strategic Plan for Health Promotion 2020-2024 boosts Nigeria‘s commitment to bridging the gap between policy and implementation, while Knowledge Management Guideline for Health Promotion 2020-2024 is a tool to guide the fundamental requirement to institutionalise knowledge management practices for health promotion.
  • The Counselling Flip Chart on Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing would educate Nigerian households with the right information on safe family planning.
  • While the Counselling Flip Chart on Key Household Practices seeks to empower Nigerians on the necessary skills and knowledge on simple practices that improve child survival and the health, growth and development of adolescent and the elderly.

What to expect

This will help to deliver preventive, curative, and palliative healthcare to Nigerians, bridge gaps between healthcare policies and implementation, while creating healthcare awareness in Nigerian citizens.

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