The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has expressed its displeasure over plans by the United States to deport 16,000 Nigerian students.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is poised to deport the foreign students whose schools will switch to online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reacting to the development, ASUU has blamed the federal government for neglecting Nigeria’s educational system.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP), which is run by the ICE, in a new rule released on Monday, 6, July 2020, had said that foreign nationals enrolled in US educational institutions will have to transfer to in-person schools to 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.
Part of the statement reads:
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.”
In a recent telephone interview with The Guardian, ASUU President Professor Abiodun Ogunyemi recalled a time “foreign students were coming to Nigerian universities. Students were coming from South Africa, Egypt, and Ghana.”
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.?”
Ogunyemi insisted that ASUU’s incessant strikes were in the interest of the students and their parents, 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?”
The ASUU President further stated:
Of course, the ruling class that can afford it are those sending their children to those distant places in America and Europe. The children of the poor are left to attend universities that are without facilities, universities that are not adequately staffed, and universities whose capacity for research have been dwindling. We think this is an opportunity for the Federal Government to sit back and address the problems in our university education and indeed Nigerian education as a whole.”
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