Academic journal article Competition Forum

Using a Modified Grameen Model to Counter the Financial Hardships Faced by African Students Studying in the U.S

Academic journal article Competition Forum

Using a Modified Grameen Model to Counter the Financial Hardships Faced by African Students Studying in the U.S

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Mokua (2012) states that education is no longer limited to the borders of individual nations due to a number of factors. He further states that higher education is perceived as a highly valued commodity that can now be obtained from anywhere in the world. Woldegiorgis and Doevenspeck (2015), in their analysis of current trends in African higher education, state that international academic and student mobility can be linked to "the growing phenomenon of globalization and internationalization processes." The advances in information technology have allowed students from all over the globe to become aware of higher education options that will enable them to obtain an excellent education. Higher education in today's global economy prepares learners to effectively deal with the dynamic global social, economic, political, and religious realities that occur in the modern world. According to Mokua (2012), this global understanding has encouraged and motivated many students, especially those with limited higher education opportunities in their home countries, to seek postsecondary education in foreign lands, which are very distant from their home countries.

Mokua (2012) further maintains that the phenomenon of students temporarily immigrating to foreign countries to pursue higher education has been accelerated by technological and communication advancements. Technology has enhanced prospective students' awareness of opportunities to study in foreign countries. Social networking websites and smartphones enable students worldwide to access information about higher education options and to pursue online education. One example of this information access is a website known as UniversitiesAbroad.com that contains online resources for international students interested in studying outside of their home country. It helps these students by making information more readily available about educational opportunities at colleges and universities throughout the world, including those in the U.S. It features a comprehensive directory of more than 150,000 degree and certificate programs that is searchable by desired location of study and program subject. This website also provides tools and resources for international students desiring to study in the United States. Consequently, a large number of students are moving to countries other than their own for advanced educational opportunities.

Another reason that explains the growth in the number of international students in first world countries is that "higher institutions of learning in host countries give these students viable local career alternatives, especially those who come from where their national systems of higher education are limited in size and quality" (Mokua, 2012). According to Akinyemi (2013) and Zeelen (2012), many African universities are plagued by challenges and have failed to maintain academic currency.

Odhiambo (2014) maintains that higher education in many African countries is no longer a luxury. In fact, most universities have not evolved to address the challenges of the current job markets and have failed to provide contemporary quality programs to take advantage of emerging technology opportunities. Students' competencies, knowledge, and skills that are key in working in a rapidly changing technological environment are not being adequately addressed (Odhiambo, 2011). Several studies point out that classroom overcrowding exists that is not conducive to effective communication and learning (Odhiambo, 2011; Akinyemi, 2013). As a result, it is evident that African colleges and universities cannot provide many African students with the kind of education that helps them achieve their individual aspirations. This situation encourages these students to acquire education from universities in other parts of the world, especially in developed countries, in order to boost their knowledge and give them an advantage in the job market when they return to their home countries. …

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