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From a total of 45 higher institutions of learning that were chosen from a 2021 list of acclaimed best universities in Africa, according to rankings based on research performance and ratings by the academic community and country, the average tuition of Nigeria’s top five universities stood at $126.23.
The countries from which the universities in the review were chosen were spread across the five regions of Africa.
Due to the difference between the tuition for courses like Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) and courses in the Humanities or Arts (BA), first-year undergraduates’ tuition figures from both fields were collected and analysed.
While analysing countries other than Nigeria, whose tuition figures were not clearly spelt out by their universities, an estimated amount was used to arrive at their average tuition cost.
Tunisia ranked the costliest, with an average tuition value of $4,166, followed by South Africa, whose universities charged an average of $3,548.
Third on the list was Morocco, with an average tuition of $1,455, followed by Ethiopia ($1152), Egypt ($701), Uganda ($620), Ghana ($290) and Kenya ($222).
Public universities in Nigeria charge an average of $126 while Cameroon universities charge the least average tuition of $90.
Tuition refers to the fee paid for teaching or rendering academic services while excluding other charges in a university.
Countries in Africa, especially the ones under review, handle the payment of tuition in their institutions differently from each other. Some charge per semester, others charge per credit (hour).
For public universities in Nigeria, “Government subvention is the major source of funds for Federal Universities in Nigeria,” wrote Samuel Akinyemi, a Lagos State university researcher.
Some public universities in Ethiopia have a mode of funding, known as cost-sharing, a system where – according to the legislation- “beneficiaries of public institutions of higher learning share full costs related with boarding and lodging and a minimum 15 percent of tuition related costs.”
Some of the universities chosen from Nigeria were University of Lagos and University of Nigeria Nsukka, among others.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conversation around the cost of tertiary education has been abundant, including a rejected proposition to hike tuition in Zimbabwe and in Kenya, a lingering struggle in South Africa over education.
There are also issues of inequalities and protests in Nigeria.