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US Universities Want More African Students


Students leave the campus at the North-West University in Mahikeng, South Africa, (also known as Mafikeng) Feb. 25, 2016.

Students leave the campus at the North-West University in Mahikeng, South Africa, (also known as Mafikeng) Feb. 25, 2016.


From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

The United States is looking for sub-Saharan African students to study at American universities.

There were about 1 million international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities during the 2014 to 2015 academic year. Fewer than 3 percent of those international students came from sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa is home to six of the top 10 fastest-growing countries in the world. But it is difficult for even the most motivated students to succeed in African universities. Classes are overcrowded. Teachers often go on strike to protest low pay and poor working conditions. There is little opportunity to do advanced research.

But studying outside of Africa can be even harder.

The U.S. government wants to change that.

FILE - U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry & Analysis Marcus Jadotte.

FILE - U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry & Analysis Marcus Jadotte.

Marcus Jadotte is the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis. He is leading the first educational trade mission to Africa this week.


“They [African students] should consider studying in the U.S because of the innovative approach to education that we take in the United States, because international businesses are looking for the best-qualified, best-prepared prospective employees and we certainly believe that it enriches education back home in the U.S.," Jadotte said.

He is traveling with representatives of 25 U.S. colleges and universities. The delegation reflects the wide variety of higher education institutions in the United States. The group includes representatives from two-year community colleges and universities that offer specialized advanced degrees. The team wants to recruit students and build relationships with African universities.

“Many of the universities who have traveled with us on this mission are including scholarships as a part of the conversation with students here," Jadotte explained.

At each stop, the Assistant Secretary will join local government officials and academic leaders at an education fair.

The delegation’s first event was an education fair for South Africans. Jadotte spoke about the academic support services and technology offered by America’s world-class universities. His message attracted a long line of South African high school students.

Boneng Mofokeng says he is hoping to go to law school at Michigan State University.

“I want to see the world and our country’s economy is not good. Maybe I can have a better life over there," he said.

Jadotte says it is not just the African students who benefit from studying in the United States. The American host institutions also benefit from the increased diversity. He says Africa offers “a number of opportunities for U.S. institutions seeking to globalize their campuses."

From South Africa, the delegation heads to Ivory Coast and Ghana.

I’m John Russell.

Thuso Khumalo wrote this story. Adam Brock adapted it for Learning English.

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Words in This Story

motivatedadj. eager, wanting to be successful

trade missionn. an international trip by government officials and businesspeople that is organized by agencies of national or provincial governments to explore international business opportunities.

innovativeadj. introducing or using new ideas or methods

enrichv. to improve the quality of (something) : to make (something) better

community collegen. a school that offers courses leading to a two-year associate's degree

recruitv. to find suitable people and get them to join a company, an organization, the armed forces, etc.

scholarshipn. an amount of money that is given by a school, an organization, etc., to a student to help pay for the student's education

globalize v. to make (something) cover, involve, or affect the entire world

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