Nobel Prize Winner Wole Soyinka from Nigeria Provides an Inspiring Example of Bravery, Activism and Humanism

Westerfield College in Nigeria prepares students for academic careers at top universities in North America, England and Europe

Partnerships with other universities make the transfer process seamless.

© 2015 JazaM / RaMen.
Gaining admission into a top university abroad can be a challenge. Educational systems are often different, and homologation of credits isn’t always straightforward. Then there are visa requirements, a myriad of admissions forms, and the uncertainty about whether and when the acceptance letter will arrive. In Nigeria, students have a practical solution to the problem of studying abroad. Westerfield College, located in Lagos, is a postsecondary school which not only prepares students for a rewarding university education abroad, but also takes positive steps to ensure that they get in.

Nigeria’s Nobel Prize Winner Combines Literature with Political Activism

Wole Soyinka is a playwright and poet, and the only Nigerian to ever win a Nobel Prize. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first African to be honored in that category. Soyinka studied in Nigeria and the UK, and became famous for, among other things, producing works of literature critical of governments.

Political activism has always been important in Soyinka’s literature and, in fact, he dedicated his Nobel Prize to Nelson Mandela, who was still in a South African prison at the time. He formed an anti-corruption and justice-seeking student organisation while still in college. A significant number of the hundreds of published works attributed to him deal with the evils of repressive governments. As recently as 2015, he spent election day monitoring voting irregularities. Nigeria’s most important writer has never been afraid of speaking truth to power. Soyinka’s play performed on the day in 1960 that Nigeria celebrated its sovereignty satirized the new government and argued that it was no better than the colonial ones. He was arrested for the first time in 1964 after resigning his professorship in protest of the government’s censorship. After the 1966 military coup he was arrested again and jailed for 22 months. In Soyinka’s mind, many of the strongmen who came to power were no better than their colonial oppressors, and he has been an untiring critic of "the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it,” whether in Nigeria or other countries such as Zimbabwe or Uganda. Given that he was not supposed to have access to books, pen or paper, it is remarkable that Soyinka managed to write some significant works while in prison. He was finally forced to make a harrowing escape from the country on a motorcycle, and ended up living in the United States and France. He has held teaching positions at universities in the United States, Nigeria, and Great Britain. He finally returned to Nigeria in 1999, avoiding a death sentence in absentia during the prior dictatorship. Soyinka once famously said that “A tiger doesn't proclaim his tigritude, he pounces.”

The list of awards that Soyinka has received is long. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he has been given four honorary doctorates, six international book awards, and three international fellowships. He has even been made a Yoruba tribal aristocrat.

Obviously, Soyinka is an exceptional man. However, one thing is certain: without a solid education, it is extremely unlikely that he would have become an internationally renowned man of letters.

© 2015 JazaM / RaMen.

Producing the Next Generation of Scholars

The next Soyinka may come from Westerfield. In order to accomplish this, Westerfield has developed relationships with top universities in the USA, UK, Europe, and Caribbean. Because of its hard work developing those relationships and because of the school’s dedication to quality, Westerfield students have more than a 99% chance of admission to a partner school abroad. Additionally, the college is recognized by the British council and other international examination bodies.

Programs at the school are custom designed to prepare students for their university careers. As one Westerfield alum currently studying in England pointed out “Gaining admission into my choice University wasn’t a problem, as I got a place at the University a few weeks after applying. If I were to choose again, Westerfield College would always be my preferred choice.”

Leaving home to study abroad is a life altering experience, full of new challenges, and even academically prepared students don’t always adjust well to homesickness, the increased pace demanded by professors, and other issues. More mature students tend to do better, simply because they are emotionally better prepared. A year or two at Westerfield can be the critical element that makes the difference between a good and a great student. As another alum put it “Westerfield College offers students an opportunity to develop their leadership and general skills … through an exceptionally interactive, team based approach to learning.”

According to Westerfield officials, this maturation process cannot be underestimated, and they regularly hear stories from parents and students describing their experience of changed lives, improved personalities and realized dreams. The combination of very high academic expectations with a loving environment allows the full development of a young adult’s innate abilities and creative talents. The result is that Westerfield students have won scholarships both at commencement and during their undergraduate programmes at different universities in the world

Besides first class academics, the school boasts specialized labs ranging from business, law, to architecture and engineering. Since it is a boarding school, students are also able to take advantage of modern facilities like comfortable living accommodations, a swimming pool, gym and state of the art dining. Additionally, the school organizes field trips locally and further abroad, from Nigeria to Kenya to Dubai.

The BID committee was particularly impressed by the schools astonishing acceptance rate along with the holistic approach taken by the school, not only in helping to produce a well rounded student, but also in facilitating the transfer process into overseas programs, including visa applications. One program which deserves mention is the partnership with St. George’s University in Granada.

From Westerfield to Medical School

Westerfield College has recently established a development program where students can earn a Doctor of Medicine degree. St. George’s University is a special place. Founded in 1976, it has now graduated more than 12,000 doctors who are practicing around the world. Its graduates achieve the same pass rates on USMLE board exams as medical schools in the United States and Canada. This past year, six Westerfield grads began at St. George’s on track to become medical doctors by first completing baccalaureate and master’s degrees programs at the university. After medical school, students complete the final two years at SGU within the University’s network of more than 70 clinical hospitals in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Grenada.

“This is an exciting new development for St. George’s University,” said Charles R. Modica, Chancellor at St. George’s University. “We are proud to open a pathway for Westerfield students to obtain a high-caliber medical education here in Grenada. We are confident that they will be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to make an impact on health care at home or anywhere in the world they choose to practice.” Current WC students who wish to apply to St. George’s University will be given fast-track consideration during the traditional application process at SGU.

Such endorsements are not given lightly, they must be earned. Because of its commitment to continuous quality improvement, in particular the attention it has paid to helping young people make the transition from secondary school to study abroad, Westerfield College has been selected to receive the BID Quality Crown Award for 2015 at the convention in London.


BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries. The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level. Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.

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