16,000 Nigerian students studying various courses all across the USA are currently battling with the latest announcement by US Immigeration and Custom Enforcement (ICE)
The plan was to deport foreign students whose schools will switch to online classes due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This development, however, has drawn the watchful eyes of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which blamed the Federal Government for neglecting Nigeria’s educational system.
The US Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP), which is run by ICE, in a new rule released on Monday, had said foreign nationals enrolled in U.S. educational institutions will have to transfer to in-person schools or take online classes outside the country. Otherwise, they will be deported. Also, the Department of State will no longer issue visas to students to attend schools that offer online classes only.
The statement reads in part:
“The U.S. Department of State no longer issues visas to students enrolled in schools or programmes that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit such students to enter the United States.
“Active students who are currently in the United States and enrolled in such programmes must leave the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they will have to face immigration consequences.”
But in a telephone interview with The Guardian, ASUU President Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi recalled with regret
“A time foreign students were coming to Nigerian universities. Students were coming from South Africa, Egypt and Ghana.”
According to him,
“Today, the reverse is the case. In Ghana, more than half of the foreign students there are Nigerians. So, we can see that they are just harvesting our resources to fund their tertiary education. Why should Nigerians be going to the Republic of Benin, Cameroon, Togo, and Sudan to seek university education, not to talk of U.S.?”
ASUU’s incessant strikes are in the interest of students and their parents, he insisted, stressing that all the union is saying is:
“Fix our laboratories, stock our libraries, renovate our workshops, supply facilities for e-learning and provide structures. Are those not the things they are enjoying there?”
He added: “We should adjust our curriculum to reflect the reality, mainly that we have to depend more and more, now, on online teaching. Secondly, we need to provide more infrastructure of online learning, ICT infrastructure essentially.
Nigeria currently has the highest number of students from Africa studying in the U.S. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Nigeria had 16,039 students as at 2019.
Factboyz.com is headed by Jayamma Abanobi and it is one of the fastest growing News and Information outlet in Nigeria