Europe is big. One continent full of ancient civilisations, old histories, Christian heritage, thousands of canonised saints, big Churches, Gothic architecture, stable governments, robust economies or recovering economies, interesting cities, sound educational system, three-year bachelor’s degrees, four-year PhDs, and a ticket to other neighbouring countries if you have the papers, the time and the money.
We believe in having a cosmopolitan education. We believe that people should know what happens around them. We believe that people should understand that people are people everywhere. Men are men, and women are women. You can understand that when you’ve been around a little. It is not compulsory to travel around but it is not by chance that those who have seen places command more respect than those who haven’t.
One many levels we love the idea of a university education in Europe whatever the level: bachelor’s, Master’s or doctorate. For one, the average duration for a bachelor’s degree is three years; three years of intense study in your field of interest. In many countries the average is four. Compare an engineering degree from a European university in three years versus the same degree from an African university in five. Yet the guy with the three-year degree is more advanced than the one with the five-year degree in knowledge and practical exposure.
Promoting a European degree is not the same as belittling a degree from somewhere else whether Africa, America or Asia. Everywhere has its merits. Europe has its merits too. For some people, studying abroad means not going back home. For us at Eurodegrees, studying abroad means acquiring the benefit of multiple perspectives. Especially for Africans, Asians and folks from other places, there is always something to learn in order to adapt it at home. All progress is adaptation. If your environment is not developing as it should, you adapt what is already working from other places that are better off.
Going back to the three-year vs five-year degree, I definitely would prefer to study for three years and work for the extra two, without putting into consideration the difference in the level of knowledge attained. Many of those who are able to make significant contributions to the development of their home countries and states are those who have benefited from a foreign education.
In Nigeria, one of the best performing state governors ever, Peter Obi who was a two-term governor of Anambra state, is a graduate of Master’s programs from the UK and US. Knowledge always changes people, most times for better. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Charles Ifedi, Uzodimma Iweala, Chimamanda Adichie, Akinwumi Adesina, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, Dr. Bennet Omalu are some of the names connected with foreign education who have shown that an international education is not an acquired taste. In a world that wants to be better, it is sometimes a necessity.
In the 1970’s the government of Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore explored this exact formula in developing the country’s workforce. High school graduates with promising results were sent to top schools in America, New Zealand, Australia, UK and Europe to obtain their bachelor’s degree and go further if they chose. All those top students were on state scholarship. They went to school, excelled and came back to transfer to Singapore all they had heard, seen and learnt. Within a decade, Singapore had out-developed her older neighbours like Malaysia and Indonesia. Top companies like Texas Instruments, HP, GE and Dyson have research hubs in Singapore. Poor people own their own homes in Singapore. In 2019, Singapore is one the strongest economies in south-east Asia. ASEAN was able to recognise quality where they saw it and invited Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to sit on their board of advisors.
For us a EuroDegree is a key component of development at home. For a serious government in Nigeria or any part of Africa, the ministers and heads of national agencies or parastatals have to know what they are doing. That is the only way they can make those systems work in order to improve the lives of the people in the country. Sound leaders always look for experts to work for them.
Today we have helped several candidates search and apply for meaningful programs abroad. The beautiful thing about these breed of clients is that they are forward-looking casting about for those programs that will make them relevant in a number of years. They want to contribute to make their home countries better. Consider that the top positions are always for those who can demonstrate competence. Why would you pass up an opportunity to do the same when it is as easy as making an enquiry? It takes longer to finish a bottle of beer than to sort out application requirements. It takes less time to complete an application and upload the required documents than it takes to sit down and get a full head of Ghana weaving.
One case in point is Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, Botswana’s youngest minister, who manages the Investment, Trade and Industry portfolio for the country. She has worked as economic adviser and consultant to the Ghanaian government. Her Eurodegree? MSc in International Economics from the University of Sussex (UK) with a 2012 Chevening Scholarship to boot. Some people will be saying how did she do it? Too young to be a minister at 30; she was already a member of parliament at 29.
Everyone has what it takes to succeed. Some people just don’t know, so they don’t use it.