By Emmanuel Edukugho
Westminster College, Lagos, has gone into partnership with the University of Buckingham, UK, to start the University Foundation course in September, 2009.
Explaining the reasons for establishing the University Foundation year programme in Nigeria while receiving the representative of the University of Buckingham in Lagos, the Director/Proprietor of Westminster College, Chief Johnson M. Barovbe, said that every year, the college sends out between 15 and 19 students to UK and USA universities to do the University Foundation course proceeding onto the main degree courses.
â€œTherefore, with the establishment of the University Foundation year course in Nigeria, we could save the parents from paying one year tuition and accommodation fees and maintenance allowance in pounds or dollars.â€
He recalled that every year, over 60 universities from the UK visit Nigeria with the sole aim of student recruitment. While some are fortunate to have enough students for placements, others find it extremely difficult to get even few students.
â€œWe now think that the time is ripe for the UK universities to establish subsidiaries or enter into partnership with good secondary schools and colleges for realistic marketing or recruitment exercise in Nigeria.â€
Barovbe appealed to the University of Buckingham to establish and develop the University Foundation course at Westminster College, Lagos, and on completion of the course, successful students can then move on to the UK to complete their degrees in two or three years.
He expressed preparedness of the college to start the University Foundation course in September, 2009, saying that the classrooms are ready with the main lecture hall which can sit 50 students.
â€œWe have secured and separated boarding houses for male and female students; well equipped modern Science laboratories for Biology, Chemistry and Physics, Computer Laboratory with Internet facilities, guaranteed clean and potable water and electricity supply aided by a giant stand-by generator,â€, the proprietor asserted.
After a tour of the facilities, equipment and infrastructure in the college complex, the International Manager, University of Buckingham, Lucinda Roberts-Holmes expressed satisfaction and delight at what she saw in Westminster College.
â€œIâ€™m very impressed with what Iâ€™ve seen in the college. Itâ€™s a good environment, the proprietor a very nice person, and the college nice for the foundation programme. The University of Buckingham has standard facilities and god reputation. Weâ€™ve had a strong relationship with Nigeria since Buckingham University was founded. The foundation programme is a good initiative and Iâ€™m very, very pleased.â€
She said that the foundation course of Buckingham University in Westminster College is the first in Nigeria.
According to Lucinda Roberts-Holmes, the University of Buckingham is the smallest in Britain, offering quality academic programmes of world standard and believed in building strong relationship, â€œas we get to know each other.â€
She explained that the university will run general foundation programme, pre-degree as well as specialised programmes, adding, â€œthe programmes offered cut across all disciplines including Engineering, Science and Technology.
The general foundation programmes are expected to be taken care of when they come to UK.â€
She affirmed that students studying in Buckingham University are happy more than any others in UK as it has the safest campus, with 65 per cent of its population international students from 90 countries, affording the students global network of friends.
On employment opportunity after graduation, she claimed that Buckingham University is top in employment rate in UK as graduates are often offered jobs after completing their studies.
Requirements for admission are good WAEC results in requisite subjects to enable students enter for the foundation programme. â€œThere are set minimum standards.
We value also references, recommendations, attitude, character, high academic attributes essential for the foundation programme.
Admission is automatic after successful completion of the foundation programme.
In respect of the number that can be admitted, she disclosed that the university operates small class sizes, and if there is need to admit more students, more classrooms can be built. Presently, there are 1,000 students on campus.
â€œThere are 160 students from Nigeria, while a Nigerian is currently the president of the studentsâ€™ Union. Governor Oyinlola of Osun State studied at Buckingham University.â€
Students are hardworking â€“ they play hard also. Study well and play well. They are examined twice a year. We know our students by name, friendly with them and ver sympathetic to their problems.â€
Scholarships are available but limited to students who obtain first class degrees to proceed for Masters â€” in the university which is 35 years old.
Asked if certificates are given after the foundation course, the International manager of Buckingham University answered affirmatively. â€œYes. We give Foundation Completion Certificate of Buckingham University.â€ Although local teaching staff will handle the foundation course, we will send staff rom UK from time to time. Also the local staff can come to Buckingham.
Our Vice Chancellor would soon come to Nigeria,â€ Lucinda Robert-Holmes concluded.