Nigeria’s education sector is set to receive boost as the Federal government and the Ukrainian counterpart commenced talk in Abuja to developing bilateral agreements.
Already, both countries have intensified talks on cooperation and signing of agreements with focus on Ukranian experience.
Hosting a delegation of Ukraine Embassy in Nigeria together with Ukrainian Center for Foreign Education and representatives of higher education, the Honorable Minister of the State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who welcome the delegation, said that the signing of the bilateral agreement is mandatory step and all necessary arrangements should be done on or before the end of the year.
The Ukrainian educational institutions, it was noted are open to foreign students and ready to provide them with high quality knowledge. For the moment, more than 76.5 thousand international students attend higher education institutions of Ukraine. Importantly, Nigeria ranks the 5th in the list of countries of origin of foreign students.
Another promising area for acquiring skills needed for success for Nigerians in today’s labour market, it was also noted is vocational education and training.
The Government of Ukraine identifies modernization of vocational education sector as an important national priority.
Ukraine has been adopting the best practices and experience of European countries in the field of vocational education and training. A large-scale EU Programme “EU4Skills: Better Skills for Modem Ukraine” is being implemented in Ukraine, supported by the EU Member States – Germany, Finland, Poland, and Estonia.
The federal government has, however, insisted that there must be a bilateral agreement between both government to ensure that Nigerian graduates are considered for employment in Ukraine when they present their certificates.
Currently, out of a total of 76,548 foreign students from 155 countries of the world studying in Ukraine, Nigeria accounts for 4227.
Speaking at an exhibition on high education and technical education and training in Ukraine, Assistant Director on Bilateral Agreement, Ministry of Education, Mary Olodun said, “we have two types of agreement, the bilateral agreement on education which is training, vocational, medicine and all issues that has to do with learning.
“The second one is on certificate recognition that as Nigerian graduates they can go to Ukraine and use their certificates to acquire good jobs like lecturing and other activities and that is what we want.”
Olodun, who disclosed that the Ukrainian government and many other partners have stopped offering scholarships to Nigerian students due to some issues, said efforts are ongoing to revitalise the process as many Nigerians travel to Ukraine as private students.
She said: “Ukraine has always been a friend of Nigeria with strong ties when it comes to different sector, for us to do proper coordination and sustainability we need to put in a legal framework, a bilateral agreement must be put in place whereby what Nigerian and Ukrainian Government want to do will be properly documented.
“Our foreign partners always give scholarship to Nigerians, suddenly they stopped, possibly there are issues that made Ukraine to stop and we want to revitalise it because alot of Nigerians go to Ukraine to study as private students and alot more can also benefit from the scholarship that will be offered by this country.”
Deputy Minister of Education of Ukraine, Mr. Igor Gorbaruk, in his welcome address, noted that Ukraine is known for its internationally recognised scientific achievements, quality higher education institutions and effective teaching methods.
According to the Minister, education in Ukraine is both useful and accessible, saying that the price of education in Ukraine is much lower when compared with other European countries.
Gorbaruk disclosed that Ukraine is the most affordable country in terms of living expenses and second best in terms of personal financial satisfaction.
He maintained that foreign citizens as well as legal asylum seekers residing in Ukraine have the same rights, freedoms and obligations as citizens of Ukraine.
For the Consul General of the Embassy of Ukraine in Nigeria, Bohdan Soltys, internationalisation of higher education will improve the higher education quality, raise the effectiveness of scientific research, improve the competitiveness of Ukrainian educational institutions at the global market for higher education.
He said that the process will also enrich the individual experience for the participants, and establish external integrational connections.
Soltys noted that the Ukrainian government consider that collaborating in educational and research programs, as well as teaching international students is not only the factor to demonstrate scientific and educational potential, range of international cooperation and attractiveness of a country as it is, but it is a also a meaningful investment in its own future and competitiveness.