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Declining Nigerian universities motivate family to move to Texas for better life
(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."