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Nigeria: country report

Date: June 14 - 2019

As part of our series of country reports outlining the landscape and regulatory environment for transnational education (TNE) in key countries for UK higher education, our latest report looks at Nigeria.

Nigeria has one of the youngest populations in the world with a median  age of 18. Many of the country's higher education institutions are relatively new, as the sector has had to rapidly expand to respond to strong population growth.

The inability of the Nigerian higher education system to meet this growing demand, and the rapid expansion of its middle class, has led many students who can afford it to seek higher education opportunities abroad. Nigeria is the ninth largest sending country of international students to the UK, with 10,500 Nigerian students coming to the UK to study in 2017-18.

It is the fifth largest host country for UK transnational education, with around 30,000 students on UK higher education programmes in 2017-18. However, 95 per cent of this provision is via distance learning, and over 85 per cent of all students are enrolled on Oxford Brookes' BSc in Applied Accountancy.

With a young, growing population, a rapidly expanding middle class, and the country's ambition to build a globally competitive economy and invest in the Nigerian people, higher education demand in Nigeria is set to grow. However, the country's higher education capacity has so far lagged significantly behind demand.

The National Universities Commission (NUC) of Nigeria expects a significant growth in applications for establishing private universities, and the national government has set out plans to expand the capacity of traditional universities, as well as strengthening the capacity for open and distance-learning delivery.

The NUC has recently issued Guidelines for Cross-border Provision of University Education, setting out the criteria for new TNE programmes and partnerships. The guidelines cover three TNE delivery models: twinning and articulation agreements, branch campuses, and open and distance learning.

Read our other country reports.