Aston University, Birmingham in the United Kingdom (UK) has provided the right information about their course of study to Africans seeking admission into the institution.
The Regional Manager, Africa Aston University, Mr. Babajide Ogundeji said this after an assessment programme for Nigerians living in Edo State, seeking to study in the University.
He spoke on a wide range of issues, including Aston University scholarships scheme, guide to students Visa applications and some of the academic laurels won by the University that was established in 1966.
According to him, “One of the challenges is that many students have the dream to study abroad, but they do not have the right information.
“They are Nigerians and intelligent people with prospects. I interacted with 10 students and they were quite positive and their expectation is okay. They have got good grades. Basically, the gap is speaking to the right person.
“Some of them are not really clear about what their career is. So, one of the jobs we did is to advice them appropriately and not be selfish. For example, there was a guy who came in there; he had a third Class and said that he wanted to start afresh, I had to advice him that he doesn’t have to start afresh and fall into the hands of crooks, wrong agents, they are going to charge you and they are not going to deliver for you.
“I advised the applicant to go for pre-Masters degree programme with the third Class which is just for four months leading to Masters. Instead of doing one year, you are going to do one year and four months”, he said.
Speaking further, Ogundeji explained that the Aston University Vice Chancellor international scholarships have a target of Eight students for this year, which is the same range for last academic session while the the global Ambassadors scholarships have a Cap of 25 students, in addition to the global excellence scholarships, which does not have a Cap.
He said “what it means is that you have a First Class, your will get 5000 pounds. If you have second class (21), you get 2000 pounds. There is also no Cap on that.
“The global Ambassadors scholarship, we have a Cap of 25 students, but for the global excellence, there is no Cap. What it means is that you have a First Class, your will get 5000 pounds. If you had 21, you get 2000 pounds. There is also no Cap on that”.
In addition, “We have a saying in the industry that anybody can have an offer, but Visa is everything. There are students who have like seven admission offers, but do not have Visa. So, for Aston, all campuses have Visa compliance team and their work is to guide students in Visa applications.
“In Nigeria, Aston opened a Regional office in Lagos State late last year, In that office, we got three Staff. One of the Staff is a conversion Officer whose responsibility is to guide all our students through their Visa applications. We also have a network of credible agents across the Country. We pay the agents to help our students. One of their task is to guide students in their Visa applications.
“For students that we have guided through our office in Lagos, we have 100 percent Visa success”.
“In terms of what we offer to students, at Aston, we do not just teach for knowledge, we teach for employability. So, we raise graduates who are able to go into the work world within six months after graduation at Aston. Our employability ranking is about 96 percent in the UK and our students satisfaction ranking is about 88 percent.
“At Aston, we offer one year work placement as part of the programme and we are the first UK University to offer work placement to students. We have been doing that since the last 50 years. So, we have a strong career placement team. What they do is that when students come on Campus, we connect them with the team which helps to build their profile.
“They also help to work on the students CVs. We connect them with potential employers around Birmingham. In addition to that, two or three times a year, we organise jobs shots where we connect them with potential employers”, he said.
The Regional Manager also disclosed plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some Nigerian Universities, including the University of Lagos (UNILAG), on exchange programmes.
“I tell you that we are almost finalising our MoU document with UNILAG. The implication is that students can do two year study in UNILAG and could come to Aston University for the last two years programme. Also, UNILAG has a foundation school. Students can go to UNILAG, study there for one year and thereafter use that Diploma Certificate to enrol into year one at Aston University for a degree programme subject to the approval of the regulatory bodies both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
Continuing, Ogundeji said: “Nigeria has the lion share of students who go to the United Kingdom. Basically, we are here in Benin to meet with potential students who are in need to study in the UK, and offer them the Aston advantage.
“Aston is a high top University in the UK. Currently, we are the UK University of the year. We had that recognition from the Guardian UK ranking which was released in November last year.
“Also, late last year, we were awarded the best University entrepreneur University of the year award in the UK Times Higher Education. So, the Guardian and Times Higher Education are the two leading award bodies in the UK as far as Universities ranking is concern”, he said.