In the latest development over a long-standing row concerning international student numbers in the UK, Nigerians and other immigrant students may soon face the risk of deportation upon completing their studies.
This comes as the UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman and the Department of Education debate over the issue of post-study visas for international students.
According to UK media reports, Braverman is currently seeking to cut down the amount of time foreign students can stay in the UK after graduation.
What Braverman is saying: Reports state that Braverman has committed to cut immigration and ‘substantially reduce’ the number of unskilled foreign workers coming to Britain, from 239,000 to the ‘tens of thousands.
In addition, she wants to reduce the number of international students who can apply for a graduate post-study work visa, which allows any student who has passed their degree to remain and work in the UK for at least two years.
Department of Education disagrees: But the Department for Education is said to be resisting Braverman’s plan to cut that to just six months, after which they have to have a skilled job that makes them eligible for a work visa or leave the UK.
Post-study work visa: Currently, students who come to the UK to study can stay behind for two years after graduation. This has attracted many Nigerians also because the UK is typically the first country of choice for international education.
This is not unconnected to the poor state of academic facilities and the poor standard of teaching in Nigerian academic institutions.
A major dilemma: Reports indicate, “Education officials fear this will make the UK less attractive to foreign students, who pay far more than UK students for their courses and are a major source of income for universities”.
In a similar vein, other reports show that Nigerian students and their dependents in the UK made an estimated £1.9 billion contribution to the country’s economy.
According to figures for the 2021–2022 academic year, a total of £54.3 million in taxes were paid by the working spouses of these students, who also paid a reported sum of £680,620,000 in school fees.
With bated breath, all stakeholders await the outcome of this fiasco.
Female student beaten and stripped naked as police invade UNIZIK hostel
Some police operatives in Anambra have been accused of invading the hostel of a female student of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) and brutalising the inhabitant who was said to be unclad.
The Punch reports on Wednesday that officers attached to the special anti-cult unit of the Anambra police broke into a private hostel housing students of UNIZIK to arrest suspected fraudsters in Ifite, Awka South LGA.
The invasion was said to have occurred at 4 am on Sunday.
A resident was quoted to have said the armed police officers brutalised the neighbours when they denied knowing any fraudster.
Narrating her ordeal in a video, a female student bearing bruises on her arm said “the police officers beat me while I was naked.”
“They broke the door and came into my flat. Ever since they broke the door, if we want to sleep, we use a chair to brace the door at the back. This is where they were beating me and I was naked,” she was quoted to have said.
A witness who resides in the area was quoted as adding: “The hostel is called Prince Godwin Lodge.
“What we gathered was that there had been robbery operations in the area. So, on Sunday, the students started to hear bangs on the gate and doors of the hostel.
“The undergraduates thought the people banging the door were armed robbers because of what happened in the past and they raised the alarm.
“It was when they entered after breaking the doors of some flats that the students realised that they were policemen as they wore jackets with the inscription of SPAC.
“The students said the policemen started harassing them and said they were looking for yahoo boys.
“One of the students, a girl, said some of the policemen entered her room and threatened her to name the boys in the hostel doing internet fraud.
“The policemen beat her, took some of the students’ phones, laptops, and televisions, and arrested some of them. But the girl was able to use her mobile phone to record them as they left the hostel with the students.”
Newsmen contacted Ikenganyia Anthony, the state police PRO, who said the matter is being investigated.
“We are investigating this allegation; the PRO of the student union government has yet to honour Anambra state police invitation to the command headquarters, Awka,” he said in a text message.
“He was invited to come on January 23, 2023, by 10 am along with the victims of the alleged incident but up till now, we are still waiting. I can assure you the police command will get to the root of all this.”
Parents protest 300% fee hike at Federal University Lokoja, demand sack of VC
Some parents of Federal University, Lokoja students have kicked against the proposed 300 per cent tuition hike by the management of the institution.
It is understood that new intakes for the 2022/2023 academic session into the faculty of sciences are expected to pay N270,000 as against N100,000 by the old students.
According to NAN, the parents staged a protest within the campus on Tuesday with various placards and solidarity songs.
They also threatened to sustain the protest until the management of the university change its decision.
The aggrieved parents further called for the immediate removal of Olayemi Akinwumi, the vice-chancellor of the institution, over the “arbitrary hike in fees”.
Speaking after the protest, Moses Abraham, who led the demonstration, alleged that the hike was a plot to deny children of poor Nigerians the right to university education.
Abraham called on the federal government to prevail on the university management to reverse the hike to avert a violent protest.
“The vice-chancellor is a civil servant and we expect that he should be aware of the current economic challenges Nigerians are passing through,” he said.
Reacting to the development, Daniel Iyke, the institution’s spokesperson, said the hike in tuition fees has become inevitable since the federal government could no longer fund education alone.
He said the institution has not officially released the reviewed fees for students.
“However, it will be important for parents, students and the public to wait for official pronouncement by the authorities before complaining,” he added.
2023 UTME: UNILAG bars admission into two courses
The University of Lagos (UNILAG) has announced the institution will not admit students into biochemistry as well as petroleum and gas engineering in 2023.
The institution disclosed this in a statement signed by Oladejo Azeez, its registrar.
The varsity asked admission seekers not to put in for the two programmes when applying for this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Direct Entry (DE).
It also directed those who have already registered for the courses at the institution to change to other programmes.
“All prospective UTME and Direct Entry candidates for the 2023 admission exercise should please note that the University of Lagos will not run two programmes, namely: Biochemistry and Petroleum & Gas Engineering,” the statement reads.
“Hence, there will be no admission into the two programmes. Candidates are hereby advised not to choose any of these two programmes, and those who have done so should change to other programmes.”
The institution, however, did not go into details about what informed the decision.
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had earlier said registration for this year’s UTME will hold between January 14 and February 14.
JAMB also set April 29 for the conduct of the UTME itself, which is expected to end on May 12.
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