Saturday, August 29, 2015

Declining Nigerian universities motivate family to move to Texas for better life

Jide Ogunbanjo

UTSA student Jide Ogunbanjo

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(July 31, 2014) -- Nigerian schools follow the British system, so Jide Ogunbanjo graduated from high school and matriculated into a well-known Nigerian university at age 15. But, the quality of the university's computer science program was disappointing at best and to stay was a gamble his parents would not take.

Guided by the promise of a better life, Kayode and Abiodun Ogunbanjo gave up everything in 2011 and moved their three children from Lagos, Nigeria to Austin, Texas. As college graduates with successful, well-established careers -- Dad studied marketing and Mom studied geology -- they knew they wanted more for their children.

"In Nigeria, education is very important, even if you want to do something technical," Jide says. "My dad wanted us to graduate with a good degree, get good jobs and live happy lives."

First, Jide took courses at Austin Community College. Last year, he transferred to UTSA and began taking mechanical engineering classes. He may also complete a minor in entrepreneurship or an oil and gas certificate before he graduates.

The humble 20-year-old calls his parents' sacrifice "very brilliant and very awesome."

Admittedly, Jide says he has to work harder at UTSA than he did at his university in Lagos, Nigeria.

"In Nigeria, you only need to get 50 percent correct on exams to pass a class, and an A starts at 75 percent," he says. "Passing a class in Nigeria doesn't always mean a student understands the material."

Because of that, an A at UTSA means so much more to Jide. "If you get an A in class here, it means you really know the class inside and out."

That type of high-quality education will be Jide's foundation for a wonderful career.

"My mom and dad say, 'Do whatever makes you happy.' They support us 100 percent."

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UTSA makes the grade with a strong core curriculum

UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.

For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.

Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.

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