By Elizabeth Osayande
The United Kingdom (UK) Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, has promised that the coronavirus pandemic will not hinder the education of Nigerians studying in the country.
In a statement made available to Vanguard, Donelan explained that the UK was doing everything possible to ensure that academic activities continue (education) despite the prevalence of the disease.
Her words: “As thousands of students from Nigeria would usually be considering their next steps, a global pandemic has caused huge disruption to our daily lives.
“As the universities minister, I want to make a promise to our students from Nigeria that this will not put a stop to your education. We stand by you and are doing everything we can to support you.
“Our universities are going above and beyond to keep students and staff safe.
“Universities are considering how teaching could meet social distancing guidelines and have already moved learning online so that high-quality teaching and assessment can continue in the interim, no matter whether students are here in the UK or in their home country.
“I know prospective students who had hoped to start a course in the UK next year will have many questions but ensuring international students can continue to study here is one of my top priorities.
“While it is difficult to know how long the current disruption will last, I want to be clear that the UK is open and will offer a world class education wherever you study and in whatever form that degree takes.
“The UK has a global reputation for academic excellence and innovative teaching, with four universities in the world’s top 10. The coronavirus does not change this.
“We rank first by international students for student experience and our graduates are among some of the most desirable for employers the world over. 83 per cent of international graduates surveyed by Universities UK International (UUKi) said their UK degree helped them get their job.
“Our universities are still taking applications for study next year. I encourage future students to get in touch with the universities they are considering to find out how they are planning to adapt courses for the next academic year, should restrictions still be in place. That might mean some first term lectures being delivered online or smaller socially distanced tutorials, but students can rest assured that quality education will continue and standards remain of the highest quality.
“While visa centres are currently closed, the UK Government has announced important flexibilities so that no student is negatively impacted due to the coronavirus. This includes relaxed rules for sponsors and different ways that universities are judging English language requirements.”
“Nobody should have to put their future on hold because of this virus. Our priority will always be people’s safety and wellbeing and we take our responsibilities to international students seriously.
“I look forward to welcoming international students in the future because you are a large part of what makes our higher education sector world-class,” Donelan said.