The European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuella Isopi on Thursday warned Nigerians who might want to tap from the available opportunity in the study in Europe fair to steer clear as it is not an avenue for them to Japa.
Isopi gave the warning in Kano while flagging off the first-ever study in Europe fair in Nigeria and West Africa region.
She said the initiative is not only about connecting people through education opportunities for young Nigerians who study in Europe but also through cooperation opportunities between universities and higher education institutions in Europe and Nigeria.
She explained that education in Europe would help students develop the skills they need to be successful in life, and also have the country develop its human capital, which is fundamental for its development.
She said for more than 10 years now, Erasmus has been open to students from all over the world and since 2014, a total of 800 brilliant Nigerian students have been awarded scholarships under the Erasmus programme with 135 Nigerians awarded the scholarship this year and have already started their master’s program in Europe.
According to her, “This is the first time, that the European union and its member states organize together a study in Europe fair in Nigeria and the whole of West Africa region.
“This event is about connecting people through education opportunities for young Nigerians who study in Europe, but also through cooperation opportunities between universities and higher education institutions of Europe and Nigeria. 23 European partners, 18 among which 18 European higher education institutions and five national education services are with us today in Kano to present the offer to Nigerian students and to engage with education institutions in Kano and northern Nigeria. They come from 8 European Union Member States, five from Spain, 6 from France, 4 from Ireland, one from the Netherlands, one from Belgium, one from Finland, 3 from Hungary and two from Bulgaria. I would like you to join me to thank them for their vision, as their participation is a powerful testimony to the potential that they see in terms of cooperation with Kano and northern Nigeria.
“Indeed, there are now thousands of degrees and courses that are taught in English throughout the European Union.
“Now dear students, today you will discover all the opportunities, many opportunities that Europe can offer to you. But let me just mention the two of them that are very much considered as flagship and successful programs in the European Union. The first one, I’m sure you know you have Erasmus. Erasmus is one of the most successful stories and initiatives in the education and youth to youth exchanges. For more than 10 years now, Erasmus has been open to students from all over the world and since 2014, 800 Nigeria brilliant Nigerian students were awarded scholarships thanks to the Erasmus programme. This year, 135 Nigerians were awarded full Erasmus scholarships and they have already started their master’s studies in Europe. Nigeria is the top country in Africa and among the five top globally together with Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Brazil. But we want Nigeria to be the number one even if the numbers have been steadily increasing. We know that we can do much better for a country like Nigeria, but there are most class also offer many opportunities of cooperation for universities, schools and even institutions that you will discover thanks to this fear.
“Let me also mention another opportunity and you will find more. We will find out more than to the fair. It’s about the program Horizon Europe, which is another EU flagship initiative that offers great financing opportunities through its research grants. Horizon Europe is now a special window for Africa and a special window for Nigeria Also. In this case, the numbers have been growing sharply. But for a country like Nigeria, we can and we must do much, much better. We know that Nigerian students and Nigerian researchers are among the best in the world, and we firmly believe that Nigerian science and research should and can be found on models for the whole continent. So education is an investment for the future, your future as individuals, but also for the future of your country.
“Education in Europe should help you develop the skills you need to be successful in life, but also have your country to develop its human capital, which is fundamental for its development. This initiative today is not an encouragement to Japa, but an opportunity to develop and use the skills you will develop in Europe to the benefit of your society and the benefit of your country,” Isopi stated.
On his part, Kano State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf said the cost of studying in Europe made it difficult to send the students to study abroad.
Governor Yusuf represented by his Deputy, Comrade Aminu Abdussalam Gwarzo however appealed to the EU to look into the challenges and find a way of surmounting the challenge.
He said the state has no fewer than one million out-of-school children that are roaming the streets of Kano noting that the state government is doing everything possible to get them back to school.
Earlier, the Commissioner of Education, Umar Doguwa and his counterpart, Higher Education, Ibrahim Kofar-Mata expressed the readiness of the state government to partner and collaborate with EU to tap from the available opportunities and address the challenges in the state’s education sector.