✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters

Ukraine conflict: Future of Nigerian students hangs in the balance

While the Russia/Ukraine war is still raging, a possibly bleak future awaits the evacuated Nigerian students and those trapped in the country’s university, in the…

While the Russia/Ukraine war is still raging, a possibly bleak future awaits the evacuated Nigerian students and those trapped in the country’s university, in the city of Sumy.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, when these evacuated students disembarked, parents were seen over joyous as they beheld the sights of their excited children.

The unprecedented conflict has not only shut down the 33 medical universities that absorbed thousands of Nigerian students but other infrastructures in Ukraine.

So far, according to Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), the federal government has evacuated 1,199 stranded Nigerians, mostly students, from Ukraine through Hungary, Poland, Romania and Greece.

However, some students are still trapped in the city of Sumy, where they live a life of agony and uncertain anxiety, in the unprecedented conflict situation.

The Country Representative of Ukrainian Universities in Nigeria, Dr Cliff Ogbeide, said two months ago that over 12,000 Nigerians have been studying in various Ukrainian universities.

Also, the Director of Bureau of Communication and Strategy in the Office of Osun State Governor, Semiu Okanlawon, said the state alone has sponsored 87 students to read medicine in Ukraine.

Now, the question is: What is the fate of these evacuated students who were at various levels of degree programmes across Ukraine.

In an interview with Daily Trust on Sunday, the students and their parents said they opted for studies in Ukraine due to comparatively lower tuition fees and to avoid the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike and uncertainties that might affect their studies.

Arriving at the airport penultimate week, Wegwu Kella, a student of Dnipro Medical Institute, Ukraine, described leaving her studies in Ukraine to come to Nigeria as “a sweet bitter feeling”.

Wegwu Kella

Kella who was visibly happy for escaping the bombing said the future of her study and that of her colleagues is hanging in a balance.

“At least I’m safe now but I’m equally concerned about what will happen to our studies. Ukraine is my home now because it is where I study,” she said.

Mr Agbeniyi Adebanjo, a father, whose children were trapped in the conflict, said he was still expecting a child that had left Sumy on Wednesday but was worried about the fate of their studies.

“Presently, there is no plan on the ground, we are just praying for peace in Ukraine and the world at large but we are hoping that the federal government will do something,” he said.

When asked whether his children will consider the call by the Nigerian and Romanian governments for students who are willing to explore options of enrolling in Romanian universities, he said, “The fact remains that you have to consider the tuition fees of all these countries.

“I consulted an agent in the UK because in Ukraine we pay $4,000 as tuition but in the UK they said the lowest one is £17,500 which is too exorbitant. But I was told that Hungary offers to collect what they pay in Ukraine. I don’t know how true it is,” he said.

He said their major concern is that the Ukrainian Universities may not release transcripts of the students at this time, and hopes that the Nigerian government will facilitate that to avoid keeping the students stranded at home.

Asked if he will consider enrolling the children into Nigerian universities, he said, “Personally, I will be very happy, but you know these children are very funny. Because they have foreign experience already, some will insist they prefer to study in Europe rather than Nigeria because of the ASUU strike and all that.”

He commended the federal government for its relentless effort to evacuate their children back home, while advising policymakers to do more on education in the country, without which, its citizens wouldn’t have been into this chaos.

Agbeniyi Emmanuel, a student, said he doesn’t have an interest in enrolling in any university in Nigeria or anywhere else.

“Our university said it will start taking us online classes in the next two weeks, so I’m working towards that because a friend tried to enroll in another university but they asked him for a transcript, which our school couldn’t provide,” he said.

A course 4 (fourth-year) medical student of Tara’s Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine), Othman Abdulrasheed, said their online classes were billed to start on March 18 but has been extended to April 1 due to a reason they don’t know.

“Now, they have started issuing online transcripts for those who want to transfer to other schools but, for me, it’s too early to decide. So, I will wait for some months to monitor the situation before making the final decision,” he said.

He said they had already paid their school fees for the year and they have two months to complete their first semester.

“It will be a waste of time and resources to transfer and later realise that peace has returned and the schools resume,” Abdulrasheed added.  

Online classes not feasible – Medical students

Another fourth-year medical student, Firdausi Ahmed, wondered how she would complete her course.

“In this crisis, it is not possible to go there, and the online classes would not be possible because there is no electricity and internet facility.

“Even If our universities offer us the opportunity to complete the course in an online format, it may not be feasible because medical courses cannot be taught online. We have practical and clinical sessions that must be done physically,” she said.

A first year medical student at a western Ukraine university, who simply gave his name as Idowu, said he is not disturbed because the region where the institution is located is not affected by the war.

“Unlike those that are studying in the eastern part of Ukraine, the western part is not affected. The building and facilities are intact, and we can go back to school anytime the situation subsided,” he said

However, it was gathered that some students have started exploiting opportunities to continue their studies in Poland, saying they don’t want to return to Nigeria to face the uncertainty that may affect their studies.

The federal government last week announced that it had made arrangements with Romania to accommodate Nigerian students, who wish to explore options and opportunities of furthering their education in the Romanian universities.

The students, according to a statement by the Nigerian Embassy in Bucharest, were given a period of one month to explore the options.

Are you currently earning in Naira but need salary/earnings in Dollars? You have an opportunity to earn as much as $10,000 (₦9.2 million naira) monthly. Click here to get evidence.

%d bloggers like this: