Students look forward to Nigerian studies thanks to Zuma fund bursaries

2014-01-14 00:00

“HARD work should be our motto as we get into a foreign land,” is what student Nomkhosi Zulu plans to live by when she joins a group of four other students enrolling at the American University of Nigeria (AUN) this year.

Zulu (18) from Aquadene in Richards Bay on the North Coast, is one of the five students from underprivileged communities who recently matriculated, and now benefit from the Jacob G. Zuma Foundation to pursue their studies overseas. Yesterday, Zuma, KZN Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, eThekwini municipality Mayor James Nxumalo and UKZN vice-chancellor Professor William Makgoba, wished the students well at a function in Durban.

Zulu said her life has been saved by the foundation, because she battled to get money for her studies. “I was enrolled at Wits but had no money. But the foundation came in to my rescue. I’m grateful for that,” she said.

Zulu said she will honour South Africa by doing well. “It’s a very exciting opportunity for me and there will be no time for jokes in Nigeria. I’m going there to make my family and President Zuma’s foundation proud.”

This year’s students are the second group sent to study in Nigeria by the foundation.

Lifa Mphirima from the Free State, who went to study in Nigeria in 2013, said the environment was totally different. “It’s a nice environment. We only need to work hard,” he said.

He said the university and people in Nigeria were treating them well. Mphirima is studying towards a BSc Petroleum and Engineering degree.

Zuma, who was awarded an honourary doctorate by the AUN, said he was most passionate about education and wanted to see more South African people studying.

“I’m very happy about the reports I receive about the students we sent there.”

ACCORDING to its website, the American University of Nigeria (AUN) was established in 2003 by Nigeria’s former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, along with other local and international statespeople and academic leaders.

The institution was conceived as Africa’s first development university. Its mission is to pioneer service learning and build leaders who will be prepared to tackle societal concerns. Located in Yola, Adamawa State, the university describes itself as a “world-class career-oriented institution missioned to be an agent of change in the development of the region”.

AUN says it is committed to providing the skills and the leadership essential to solving the continent’s critical social and economic problems.

The university offers an American-style education modelled after the curriculum of U.S. universities with corresponding approaches to teaching and student assessment.

The first class of 124 students and 20 professors was enrolled in September 2005.

AUN is a completely wireless university, which is highly focused on IT. Computers, the Internet and other critical IT facilities are key tools in teaching.


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