The Federal Ministry of Education recently recognised Dr Victor Olalusi, 27, for graduating as a medical doctor in 2013 with a score of 5.0 Cumulative Grade Points Average in Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow. The university rated him the best graduating student in the whole Russian Federation. He secured admission into the university on the platform of the Russia-Nigeria Bilateral Education Agreement in 2006.
A citation on Olalusi also said he was the best graduating student at Aquinas College, Akure, Ondo State where he obtained distinctions in all the subjects he offered in the 2004 West African School Certificate Examination. He enrolled in a pre-degree programme of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State later in 2004 where he also came out as the best pre-degree student with a score of 80 per cent.
The citation said further that in June 2006, he took the Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) to study Medicine and Surgery, scoring 321 points out of 400 points to emerge the best science student in Nigeria. In his post UME examination, he scored 326 points out of 400 points, the highest in the Department of Medicine of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, in 2006. A milk brand, Cowbell and the Joint Admission Matriculation Board, subsequently awarded Olalusi a scholarship to study at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of OAU.
Shortly after he started the course, the Federal Government awarded him a scholarship to study medicine at the Russian National Research Medical University. In the light of Olalusi’s excellent performance, stakeholders hold the belief that the critics’ position that the standard of education system in Nigeria is falling might not be right. They note that a system that has repeatedly produced students who make first class and break records in prestigious foreign universities cannot be said to be falling. Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, said a lot of Nigerian students were brilliant but Olalusi was a genius.
He said Olalusi had become an ambassador not only to the ministry but to Nigeria and Russia. “We have to search the Guinness Book of Records for anybody who has achieved 5.0 Cumulative Grade Points in a university. “It is curious and strange that all those that evaluated his performance could not find reason to reduce a point from him. “You should be the ambassador of the Federal Scholarship Board, Ministry of Education, Nigeria and the Russian Federation. “I look forward to the day you will stand before the president to receive your honour; we have made recommendations to that effect,’’ Nwaobiala said at the recognition event for Olalusi.
He then urged Olalusi to continue to be a role model to young Nigerians and also called on him to explore opportunities in post graduate research. In her speech, Mrs Ifeoma Agunwa, the Director, Federal Scholarship Board, said Olalusi made 5.0 Cumulative Grade Points in all the courses he took during the seven years he studied in the Russian National Research Medical University. She said: “Olalusi never had a 4.99-grade point, even in the Russian language class, he did not fall below 5.0 grade points.’’
Agunwa, who read the citation on Olalusi, said he ranked as one of the best students in the faculty which gave him a place in the university’s Hall of Fame for academic excellence. She said that Olalusi had registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and had the compulsory one-year training at State Specialist Hospital, Akure. According to her, he is presently going through the compulsory National Youth Service scheme in Rivers.
In his comments, Prof. Julius Okojie, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), said that Olalusi feat was extraordinary and worthy of celebration. Represented by Dr Ruqayyatu Gurin, Director, Students Support Services, he said Olalusi was an ambassador who had brought honour to his fatherland. He said that Nigerian students should strive to emulate Olalusi and replicate his achievement.
Mr Artem Romanov, who represented the Russian Embassy, said that Olalusi’s feat was very significant for everybody in Russia. Romanov admitted that “Nigeria is blessed with abundant human potential which have been officially acknowledged in Russia. “It has been acknowledged in the Russian Ministry of Education that Nigerians have a lot of exceptional talents. Genetically, Nigerians grasp knowledge easily. “Olalusi is a hardworking person. It is not easy to achieve such in Russia; it goes with talent and hard work.
“I urge you to engage your knowledge in the development of your father land’’. While showing his appreciation, Olalusi thanked God for his rare feat and also commended the Federal Government and the Scholarship Board for the opportunity given to young Nigerians to distinguish themselves. Mr Olarewaju Olalusi, the father of Olalusi, said that his son’s achievement was as a result of hard work. He said his son did not attend high class schools but normal public schools which spoke volumes of the standard of education in Nigeria. He then urged parents to monitor their wards closely and make sure they were not distracted from their studies.
Goody Njoku, an educationist, said that Olalusi was a product of the Nigerian education system which has been rigorously berated over the years. “Understandably, the variables have changed but the quality of teaching and education in Nigeria is still of acceptable standard.
“The fact that many students these days give in to distractions does not in any way negate the high standard for which Nigerian education is known. “Many people base their judgment on the global rating of Nigerian universities but they forget that the rating does not reflect the quality of teaching but internet presence of such universities in terms of publications.
“Whether in America, Europe, Australia or Asia, Nigerian students always outshine their peers, he said. He said that Olalusi and other exceptional good Nigerian scholars should be funded to engage in research works that would tackle local peculiarities and challenges. Perceptive analysts say that Olalusi’s feat shows the importance of appropriate supervision in a child’s education. “Sending your children to schools where school fees are astronomical does little to their intellectual development if they are not properly monitored,’’ they observe.
-By Chijioke Okoronkwo