There are only 1,856 foreign students in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions—Survey

Despite the mass exodus of Nigerian students yearly to tertiary institutions abroad, there are only 1,856 foreign students studying across 194 tertiary institutions in Nigeria according to a survey.

Former Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega who made the result of the survey public in Abuja on Thursday said Nigeria scores low on the internalisation index.

“In a survey of August 2019 by this committee on tertiary institutions in Nigeria, of the 194 institutions that responded, there were 1,856 foreign students out of a total of 1,132,795 students,”Jega said.

He is the chairman of the Committee on Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Internationalization.

“There were 437 foreign academic staff from a total of 5,604 academic staff in these institutions. Foreign students make up 0.18 per cent in universitites, 0.29 per cent in polytechnics and 0.04 per cent in colleges of education,” he explained.

The former INEC Chief said the total percentage of all foreign students in Nigeria’s tertiary education system as at the 2018/2019 session is 0.16 per cent.

“With regards to academic staff, the percentage of foreign academic staff in  Nigerian universities is 0.008per cent and 1.64per cent in polytechnics and 0.18percent in the colleges of education,” Jega added.

Comparatively, in 2017, the International Educational Exchange data released by the Institute of International Education (IIE) shows that there are 11, 710 Nigerian students currently pursuing their educational goals in the United States, an increase of 9.7 per cent over 2016.

Recently, the U.S Deputy Director, Student and Exchange Visitor Program in Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Rachel Canty, revealed that Nigeria led all Africans studying in America.

“There are over 36,000 students from Sub Saharan Africa studying in the U.S. As of March 2019, there are 16,039 students from Nigeria studying in the United States with 54 per cent male and 46 per cent female students.

This is an increase of 3,342 students over 12,693 students recorded in November 2018,” she stated.

Meanwhile, while presenting the report of the survey to the Registrar of JAMB, Ishaq Oloyede, Jega advised Nigeria’s tertiary institutions to improve the quality of their teaching and raise standards of their facilities to international levels to attract foreign students.

He encouraged tertiary institutions to seek for international students through advertisement in international newspapers, institutional websites and other digital platforms.

The Former INEC chairman advised tertiary institutions to charge moderate fees that could attract foreign students’ patronage and work towards a stable academic calendar with zero tolerance for disruption of academic.

On how internationalization of admissions could be promoted by JAMB, Jega recommended that the board  should advise the Federal Government to provide funding for internationalisation of education to enable institutions to develop appropriate infrastructure.

“Allow Nigerian Tertiary Institutions to open offshore campuses for the export of Nigerian education under a robust regulatory framework,” Jega recommended.

    He stated that JAMB should implore the government to provide securities for both local and foreign students in the country.

    Among other things, Jega noted that the government should make deliberate efforts to promote Nigerian culture abroad through the National Council of Arts and Culture and the National Orientation Agency.

    Jega said it is the hope of the committee that the insights contained in the report would be put to good use in a bid to transform the Nigeria education system.

    In his response, JAMB Registrar, Ishaq Oloyede, said internalisation was part of programmes being mulled by the Federal Government to reform the tertiary education sector.

    He announced that hostel facilities in  12 tertiary institutions in Nigeria would be upgraded by JAMB as part of the process to drive the policy.
    “This has been one of the cardinal objectives of the Federal Ministry of Education and we will do everything in our powers to implement it, one of the first steps would be to set up a committee on the internationalisation of students in our tertiary institutions,” Oloyede said.


    Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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    1. As If Asuu constantly striking isn’t bad enough they’re wondering why there are hardly any international students. No jobs, No joy, constant stress… In their wisdom they saw the solution to this problem to be lack of adequate advertising?? The Nigerian government is quite funny


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