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The Rise of Nigerian Students in International Academics
5 min read

The Rise of Nigerian Students in International Academics

5 min read
Uploaded on
Jun 5, 2023
Last updated on
Aug 12, 2023
Uploaded on
Jun 5, 2023
Last updated on
Aug 12, 2023
The Rise of Nigerian Students in International Academics


Nigeria, a country with a rich cultural heritage, a growing economy, and a thriving academic sector, is home to some of the most talented students in Africa. However, there has been a noticeable increase in Nigerian students opting for higher education in foreign countries in recent years.

This trend has raised concern about why these students would leave their homeland for higher education. There are various reasons for the same, ranging from the desire for better educational opportunities, better resources & exposure to diverse cultures and gaining global experiences. This blog will explore the underlying factors behind the worldwide exodus of Nigerian Students.

1. Quality of education:

  • Education infrastructure in Nigeria: The limited number of reputable educational institutions in Nigeria contributes to the rise of Nigerian students pursuing higher education globally. Despite having established institutes, the growing demand surpasses the available infrastructure. As a result, Nigerian students are seeking overseas education to access stronger academic programs and world-class facilities.
  • Education quality perception: The quality of education in developed countries is perceived to be better, and this has encouraged many Nigerian students to pursue education in countries like the U.S.A, Australia, UK. China, including others
  • Global competitiveness: While there is a growing demand for trained or highly skilled employees in Nigeria, the country's education system is not effectively preparing young students for the job market. Studying overseas allows Nigerian students to develop practical skills and hands-on experience that will help them compete in the global job market.
  • Cross-cultural exposure & gaining global perspective: Additionally, studying abroad exposes Nigerian students to diverse cultures, ideas, and attitudes. This exposure is vital in today's globalized world, as employers value individuals with a global perspective and cultural awareness. Nigerian students can establish international networks, develop language proficiency, and enhance cross-cultural communication skills by pursuing overseas education.

2. Domestic education in Nigeria:

  • Need for resources: Nigeria's education system is at a developmental stage. There is a need for higher funding, updating the curriculum and the facilities, plus a requirement for skilled academicians and researchers. This has made several Nigerian students search for better opportunities.
  • Slow growth: Besides challenging socio-economic conditions, the slow growth in amenities like libraries, labs, and technology has resulted in limited access to critical learning resources, making it difficult for students to study efficiently.
  • Disruptive events: In recent years, disruptions like strikes of teachers and lecturers have interrupted and caused delays in the academic calendar. A shortage of financing, poor facilities, and low compensation for instructors frequently cause these strikes.
  • Brain-drain: Hence, students are increasingly travelling overseas to study medicine, computer technology, business, and management, trying to secure internships, TA-ships and RA-ships around their universities.

3. Unlocking Opportunities: Benefits by governments for students

  • Government scholarships: Various governments provide scholarships to Nigerian students so that they can study in their respective countries. These scholarships pay for tuition, living expenses, and travel costs. Students are chosen for scholarships depending on their academic performance.
  • Financial aid: Several governments waive tuition expenses for Nigerian students studying in their countries. These fees are lower than those imposed on other nations' foreign students. For instance, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK has special scholarships for Nigerian students for their education in UK. The Rhodes Scholarship has great benefits for Nigerian students as well.
  • Work-study programs: Governments also provide work-study programs to Nigerian students in order to assist them in financing their studies. These programs help students work on a part-time basis while studying. The earnings help cover a part of the tuition and living expenses.
  • Health insurance coverage: Nigerian students who intend to study abroad can apply for government student loans. These loans include low-interest rates and flexible payback options, which make it simpler for students to fund their education. In fact, numerous governments provide Nigerian students with health insurance to cover their medical expenditures while studying in their nations. This policy provides coverage for both emergency and non-emergency medical expenditures. Some state governments also provide coverage for medical expenses during the tenure of stay. This insurance covers both emergency and non-emergency medical expenses.
  • Accelerated visa processing: Various governments help Nigerian students gain visas to study in their country. This aid includes accelerating the visa application process and giving information on visa requirements.

4. Nigerian dreams that turned gold:

There is no dearth of success stories of Nigerian students, to inspire future generations to come. Such glorious examples sharpen the zeal of the younger members of Nigerian society towards higher education. Nigerian students are known for having attained numerous scholarships and awards overseas.

Lots of students have made their name in countries abroad, creating a firm foothold for themselves and a strong legacy for those to follow. To name a few:

  • Dr. Addy Olubamiji, was the first Black person to have been awarded the highly coveted Ph.D. scholarship in biomedical engineering from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.
  • Solace Ojotule surpassed seven heart-breaking rejections to obtain a ‘Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme scholarship and received education at a Russell Group university. Her passion made her a leader and one of the co-founders of "She Rise Africa", a non-profit organization, that encourages girls in underprivileged and patriarchal societies to strive for their own objectives, and personal growth, to become the best version of themselves.
  • Awe Ayodeji Lucky, a 22-year-old student, cracked the toughest Asian scholarship exam and it took him a total of five times to secure the fully-funded scholarship. Now he is proudly studying robotics degree at the University of Japan.

5.  Nigerian students' contribution to the economy:

Nigeria has a large younger population (between 16 and 24 years), with many seeking higher education. Through their academic achievements and innovations, Nigerian students have made significant contributions to the global education system. The statistics on Nigerian students' participation in international education are as follows.

Nigerian Student Enrollment Snapshot: Key Figures
Globetrotting Nigerian Students: International Enrollment and Expenses


It is commendable how Nigerian students are taking bold steps and are making exceptional use of international education resources, but we must not overlook the fact that the rise of Nigerian students in international academics is driven by the need for quality education and better job opportunities in their own country. As more Nigerian students pursue education overseas, universities are developing programs and resources to meet the demands of this rising student demographic. What is certain is that Nigerian students are here to prove that with relentless determination and rigorous planning, no dream or destination is too far.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main reasons contributing to the rise of Nigerian students in international academics?

Which countries are the most popular destinations for Nigerian students?

How do Nigerian students fund their education abroad?

What fields of study are Nigerian students pursuing in international academics?

How does studying abroad benefit Nigerian students?