Migration for Higher Education: Case of Parent-Sponsored Nigerians in Undergraduate Programs in Canada

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Charles ADEYANJU, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada
This study investigates the attraction of Canada for postsecondary education by Nigerians, using the case of international students from Nigeria in Canada to interrogate the orthodox notion that African migration to the West is driven by economic hardship.  Over the past 15 years, or so, Canada has been destination to Nigerians for undergraduate education.  Most of these Nigerian undergraduate students in Canada are sponsored by their affluent parents, who pay higher tuition fees than Canadian citizens.  Preliminary findings show that affluent Nigerians send their adolescent children to Canada for undergraduate education not only because they are dissastisfied with the quality of education in private and public universities in Nigeria, but also because of the discursive construction of Canada and its tertiary institutions by recruitment agents, who manage the impression of Canada by highlighting the benefits of Canada over other Western destinations, and representatives of Canadian Universities and Colleges, whose promotional campaigns in fairs in Nigerian cosmopolitan cities and on the web have effects.  By and large, critical actors, especially the recruitment agents, market migration for higher education to the Nigerian affluent class as a pathway to permanent residence for their wards.  Underlining these motivating factors, semi-structured interviews with parents of Nigerians studying in Canada and their undergraduate children in Canada, and recruitment agents; and participant observation show that studying in Canada, and in the West, is highly prestigious in Nigerian society.