An exploration of the wider costs of the decision by the Rivers State government in Nigeria to revoke international students’ scholarships

Chemistry student

Conference paper and presentation by Dr Elizabeth Achinewhu-Nworgu and Queen Chioma Nworgu presented at XIII BCES Conference, Bulgaria, June 2016. 

ABSTRACT: In a move intended to cut costs to the state, the government of Rivers State has announced that it is revoking international scholarships for its young people studying overseas (except for final year students). Whether or not there are corresponding courses available for them back in Nigeria, some 600 students are effectively being recalled and will have to complete their degree studies in higher education institutions in Nigeria.  This controversial decision can be subject to analysis on several different levels: from an economic point of view, does a cost-benefit analysis show this to be an effective measure; legally, has the Rivers State government breached its contract with the students and potentially also infringed their human rights?  These questions can be subject to much debate and will take time to resolve.  The full economic costs/benefits of the policy change, and the legal ramifications, may not be known for many years to come.  This paper takes a more immediate look at the impact of the decision, by considering the views of some of the 600 students caught up in the middle of this key policy change. Data collection was based on interactions with the students and a telephone interview. The findings of research demonstrate deep concerns and objections from the students and their parents, with main emphasis on the damage to their future career, although with few students very positive about going back home to complete their study. The findings at this initial stage will further explore the legal implications, humanitarian and rights of the students in relation to their signed contracts for the scholarship award.