Why We Are Encouraging Nigerian Students To Study In Turkey – Badmus

Ambassador Adekunle Badmus is the Chief Executive Officer of  Goodmus Learning Centre – an institute that is licensed to recruit students from Nigeria and other African countries into Turkish Universities. In this interview with TIANNAH ADELERE, the educationist reveals why his company focuses more on Turkey for educational studies.

Please tell us a few things about yourself and the learning centre?

I am Ambassador Adekunle Badmus, the CEO Goodmus learning centre in Africa. Our company is into a six form academic school where we train students on SAT, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT and other external examinations including YOS exams. All of these are as a result of bilateral agreement between African governments and the Turkish government. I was appointed to be the head in Africa and we have been bringing the Turkish officials from the government owned universities to administer and coordinate this examination in Africa.

Kindly brief us about how the journey started?

I have a background in ICT, doing network engineering, computer engineering and other communication-related activities before I met an American, Mrs Michelle Ukoh who wanted to start an after-school program.  She proposed a partnership in 2004/2005.

Due to my ICT background, we went into external examinations when we started.  I set up a TOEFL lab. When TOEFL decided to go on the web, it was very well suited to us and we went live on October 6 2016.

I have been trained and tested by the ETS (Educational Testing Service) in Preston new Chelsea in the United States. I was certified to be a TCE, that is testing Into Administrator to the TOEFL IBT test and I worked hand-in-hand with trimetric whose head office is in South Africa.

Since then I have been administering external examinations. I have been supporting students and Mrs Michelle Ukoh initiated me into the travelling industry. She is more than a boss to me. She is the true definition of a mother. She is an American who got married to a Nigerian and her union is blessed with 3 kids; Shade, Amazu and Nonye. We are still together till date. I still hold the company First New Generation and she is equally the chairman Board of Directors for GLC in the whole of Africa. She still gives us motherly advice from time to time.Why do you focus on  Turkey and what is so special about that country?

At first, we started with the US, just as you know, it’s an American trend. When we started, it was okay. As at then, one US Dollar was exchanged for N87, N98 and N110 until the economy collapsed. Parents could no longer afford to send their kids to the US and they were asking us as consultants, what could be done about the increasing cost. We, at Goodmus Learning Centre went on a search for quality and affordable education and we spotted Turkey as a place where we can get that affordable and quality education. I went there, lived there and I saw the people. During my stay, I visited about 67 major cities, I visited the schools, moved from one department to the other and I saw that it is the same with the type of education one can get in the US, Canada, UK, to mention but a few.  International students in the US pay a huge sum of money; but in Turkey, it is highly subsidised.

International students pay as low as 350 dollars per year, an equivalent of N110, 000 or N150, 000 here. There is even a government school that we are equally partnering with and the tuition fees per year is N36,000. Students are asked to take the YOS examination and this is to enable them to assign candidates to an appropriate programme.

The Examination is valid for two years. Those who do well will be put in the appropriate programme while those who scored low will be enrolled in an associate or vocational programme. Looking at the deep gully in on our educational sector in Nigeria and the number of high school graduates that we produce, we do not have enough tertiary institutions to absorb them. Statistics say that the JAMB tested almost 2,000,000 candidates in this year’s baccalaureate examinations and the institutions including Federal, State, Private and even Missionary institutions that we have cannot take up to 600,000 of these candidates, leaving up to 1.4 million students roaming the streets. This has degenerated into different kind of vices in our society.

How many government-owned universities are you in partnership with?

We have worked with several universities and that has led to over 100 government universities. Presently, we are working with some universities like the Sakarya University, Bursa Uludag University, Karamanoglu Mehmetbey University, Karabuk University, and Tokat Gaziosmanpasa University. All their examinations are acceptable by more than 100 government universities in Turkey.

What are your agencies doing in terms of language barrier?

The good people of Turkey speak the Turkish language. I have lived in Turkey for some time. Although I didn’t enrol in the language course, I can speak some simple Turkish language like “Tunaydin” meaning good afternoon and “Evet” which means yes. I have been picking these little aspects of the language despite the fact that I did not really dedicate time to learn it.

The language is easy, even with Google translation, a lot of people have learnt the Turkish language. The government-owned universities urge every international student coming to Turkey to, first of all, run the Turkish language course before starting their programme for easy communication. It is a great opportunity for Nigerians and African students to have an addition to the language(s) they already know.

Getting there as an English speaking student, you have an opportunity to teach and earn some money for yourself. A student can easily get a part-time job to do. The skills you have will determine the kind of job you get.

How long does the examination last and what happens if a student does not meet up the required cut-off mark?

Like I said, YOS exams last for two years, that is, if you are unable to use the result this year you can still use it the following year. Your score determines the programme you will be given. There is no need to panic as regardless of your score, you will be given a vocational course – a two-year associate program or what we call diploma course here. Also, we have a license to organise a short certificate programme just as one, two, or three weeks to government officials, expatriates and entrepreneurs. You can also place a request to us to plan certain programmes and our government-owned universities will come up with the initiatives and people can participate in it.

We have one that is focused on agriculture that is coming up on the 6th-20th of October 2019 in Busar Uludag University. There, you will meet different kinds of people that can boost your business and knowledge on what you already know about, including livestock agriculture.

We equally have a license to host young students to have university experience from age 9-16 in the next summer. So people can seek partnership with school owners, tutorial centre owners, CBT centre owners, educationists, parents and guardians in order to move this.

What were some of the challenges you encountered at the initial stage?

There were lots of challenges. Initially, when I started, I was working with First New Generation since 2005-2012. After then, I told my boss that I would like to start Goodmus Learning centre. When I started GLC being an American trend, I trusted a lot of people because Americans are very open-hearted. These people I trusted ended up betraying me. It was a very painful experience but what I learnt during that period was that people who may smile at your progress may not necessarily be happy with you. I was set up and then duped of a lot of money running into millions but I thank God I was able to manage and scale through that dark period.

How were you able to cope during those hard times?

Owing to the fact that I am from a very humble family and seeing how far God has helped me, integrity was one of the things that lifted me. It is not a bad thing when you make a mistake but be careful so as not to repeat the same mistake again. New people kept coming and in the process of working with them, they propagated our name. When we make any mistake in a client’s job, we inform the client as soon as possible that we have been swindled and we would request for little time to refund the money. We are existing and we have incredible projects that we are working on; they saw it because they were monitoring us and they all understood with us.

How many countries in Africa are you conducting the tests?

We have conducted tests in Cameroon and Nigeria basically and we will equally run for Ghana in a couple of days.

We saw one of your recent posts with an Ambassador, What was the interaction like?

He is a movie producer and actor. His name is Ayodele Badmus. He has been with us since our collaboration with the Turkish people in 2014. Having watched us for a while and having seen rapid development in what we do, He willingly showed his full interest and we signed him up as our Brand Ambassador. We were together at the Turkish embassy on 23rd of August 2019 and we have been doing the work together.

What is your major source of encouragement about the students?

The fact that when I went to Turkey I saw my students doing incredibly well. Their parents kept giving me good remarks about them. They are representing their family and the country well. So, seeing and hearing all these give me joy and I see them achieving great things and making progress.

What advice can you give to people who think the US, the UK, Canada and the like are the only places they can go to study?

Well. I tell people that if everybody knows what I know about Turkey today, then they won’t be obsessed about wanting to study in the UK, Canada, and the like. Turkey is a very peaceful place. Contrary to the notion that people have; you live your life the way you want it in Turkey. Turkey is pure Europe, I saw people wearing bum shots, swimming trunks on the streets in Turkey. It is not an Islamic country, there are many churches and mosques over there. Turkey is being governed by a Muslim who has a developed mindset. It is well developed with good infrastructure and social amenities. During my stay in Turkey, I experienced inexplicable peace. It is a very nice place to be and I really encourage Africans to study there.

As a frequent traveller, how many countries have you visited and what do you think Nigeria can emulate from those countries?

I have visited the United Kingdom, the United Arabs Emirates, South Africa, Kenya, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and others. One of the things Nigeria can emulate is having a developed mind. A country is developed not because of her resources but because of the quality of minds of her citizens.

Developed mind constitutes a well-developed nation and that is why we went for a good and affordable education for all. Good things are worth emulating, so when we see people doing good things, let’s appreciate and copy what they’re doing. For instance, in Cameroon, there is always uninterrupted power supply and that is because these people are able to manage and do well for themselves. Ghanaians now have free visa to South Africa and we all know the history of Ghana. There was a time Nigerians were clamouring for Ghanaians to return home, however, the reverse is the case now.

What led to this change is simple – the mind of the people. Once the mind is developed and the people start working out things, their mind transforms into everything that will happen in society.

Finally, I will urge our government to develop peoples’ mind. Human capacity building is of great essence. Let us start encouraging our students when they do well in our local exams like WAEC, UTME by awarding scholarships to them. Let us encourage good reading morals. In terms of transportation, we are not there yet but we can get there once we start changing our mindset.