May 23, 2022

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Index – Abroad – What Happens to African Students Who Leave Ukraine?

Desmond Mugudo is a 30-year-old Nigerian student who was forced to flee Ukraine when fighting broke out. Before that, however, it took him 11 years to raise money for his teaching, which now seems to be lost. He worked as an oil pipe welder in his home country, but was mostly unemployed and dreamed of listening to international relations in Europe, only selling his last piece of land with his parents to help him. He finally joined one of the Ukrainian universities at the end of last year, but had not even spent three months there, he already had to flee.

My parents have nothing to support me. “

SaidTo the BBC Unfortunately in a makeshift hotel in Berlin. The Nigerian government is telling me to go home. But why? I could not start anything, ”the young man added.

Mugudo was one of about 16,000 African students studying in Ukraine, but now suddenly became insecure. Thousands have already been flown home to Africa on special flights arranged by different states, but many are likely to be stranded in major European cities. To Mugudo.

Higher education institutions around the world have moved to provide accommodation, reduced education and visa facilities for students coming from Ukraine. Diplomats from affected African countries also entered and sought to liaise with European foreign ministers to resolve the deportation of university students.

Hungarian universities also help

Hungarian medical universities offer the opportunity to study 250 Ghanaian students, while 200 medical students are waiting for Grenada St. George Medical University. Muokwudo complained about some places because, as he says, there are universities where only Ukrainian citizens are allowed under one convenient procedure, not other refugees. One such example is the University of Tallinn, where it has been confirmed that only Ukrainians can apply for expedited assessment, while other foreign students have to go through the regular application process.

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The war has put many foreign university students in a difficult position, with many facing the fact that they will not be able to complete their studies. More than a thousand students who left Ukraine have already been deported from Eastern European capitals, according to the Nigerian government. Among them is a 22-year-old man Moses Tomilola, who has been trapped for weeks in the besieged city of Sumi in eastern Ukraine. Today, she lives with her parents again, and she looked back five years later, but had only one semester left to graduate as a doctor.

Despite the war, training continued online at several Ukrainian universities, which gave Tomilola confidence. However, for security reasons, it is not said that the trainee medical professors teach about shelters or areas outside of Ukraine. By the way, Tomilola Sumi was the head of the Nigerian student body. He now admits that it is very difficult to do medicine online, but he does not have the money to start anew at another university. And he does not want to finish his studies in Nigeria because he thinks this will be a clear setback.

Another 25-year-old student is able to continue his studies in Poland. He recently took the Ukrainian language exam, but foreign universities teach English at Polish universities. He was one of those who refused to allow their government to repatriate them.

African education is a barrier

International and voluntary organizations acknowledge that higher education in Africa is bleeding from many wounds. The financial background is inadequate, there is a shortage of well-trained teachers and there is an almost complete shortage of investment in research and development. As a result, only 60 African universities are in the top 1,500 universities in the world.

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Only the best-ranked South African university from Cape Town has indicated that it is ready to welcome African students leaving the war due to the war, but so far not many have applied for the call.

(Cover image: Nigerian refugee students on March 5, 2022 in Vaserosnameni, Hungary. Photo: Morton Monas / Image Alliance via Getty Images)