5 facts on the current education market in Nigeria

Nigeria has the potential for long-term prosperity and the chance to benefit from its demographic dividend. Quality concerns in its under-resourced education sector provide opportunities for private providers and fuel aspirations among its affluent population and wealthy middle classes to send their children to study overseas.

Education Intelligence highlights five facts about this optimistic education market.

1. Aspirational and young demographic profile

As the most populous nation in Africa, Nigeria is attracting considerable attention as an emerging economy and a rapidly-growing, young consumer market. Nigeria is a N-11 country – one of 11 large-population countries identified as having the right economic and political conditions to influence the global economy in the 21st century.

2. Consumer expenditure on education is rising

In 2016, consumer spending on education totalled US$9.2 billion, and although this figure has decreased in recent years due to the recession, it is expected to start rising in the coming years to reach US$10.9 billion in 2021. While education is free at public primary and lower- secondary schools, there are significant costs associated with public education, including transport, materials, uniforms, and meals. Meanwhile, private education has flourished due to the poor quality of provision. Nigeria also has a large private tuition market that prepares students for examinations, such as university entrance exams.

3. Growing demand for tertiary education

In 2016, 1.93 million students were enrolled in tertiary programmes, rising from 1.63 million in 2010. Tertiary enrolments are forecast to more than double to 4.8 million by 2024, reflecting the booming young population, which is growing by around 2.8-3.1 per cent annually, and a growing hunger for tertiary education, which is associated with socio-economic mobility. Low university admission rates drive students to either re-apply over several years, potentially becoming unemployed or seek higher education at a private HEI or abroad.

4. Among the world’s fastest-growing markets for study abroad

Nigeria has been identified as one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for study abroad, particularly in postgraduate studies, a reflection of the lack of quality provision in Nigeria, particularly at postgraduate level. Increasing wealth, aspirations and educational attainment are also contributing to the rising demand for study abroad. The number of Nigerians studying overseas rose by 71 per cent over 2007-2010 and almost doubled over 2008-2012 (UNESCO). Many Nigerians pursue study within Africa, with Ghana, Mauritius and South Africa among the popular destinations, although the UK, US and Australia are also leading choices.

5. Strong digital potential

As one of the six countries with the biggest offline populations in the world, Nigeria aims to increase access to digital media under the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018, though its implementation is way behind schedule. Forty-one per cent of the population are mobile users, 96 per cent use pre-pay phones while just four per cent are signed up to post-pay contracts, and 26 per cent of the population access the Internet on mobiles. Mobile Internet is driving access to digital media, and 21 per cent of the population subscribed to mobile broadband in 2015, although this figure does not reflect the prevalence of smartphones with pay-as-you-go access. By early 2017, the share of web page views from mobile phones was 81 per cent while 51 per cent of Nigerians were active Internet users.


02/03/2018 - 08:24