A 2022 market sentiments and study motivations report has retained the United Kingdom in the top spot among preferred destinations for Nigeria’s outbound students.
There is increased competition from other countries to recruit international students, and several factors contribute to making Nigeria a strong market for foreign universities.
Unemployment, persistent level of underinvestment compared to global standards, university strikes, availability of post-study work options, and permanent residency have boosted the interest of students seeking abroad education.
Culture Intelligence from RED, the University of Sussex, and Vive Africa partnered to conduct market research capturing market trends in the Nigerian tertiary education sector as it relates to acquiring foreign degrees.
For the study, 4,098 respondents were randomly selected nationwide to analyse the perceptions among Nigerian students about foreign education and the criteria that determine their universities and/or location of choice.
Data was collected through an online survey, interviews, and multimedia conversations. About 23 percent of the respondents were students under 18 years of age, 49.8 percent between 18 to 25, and 20 percent between 26 to 35.
The two lowest percentages were those between 36-45 years (6.19 percent) and those above 45 years (1.42 percent).
Exactly 89.87 percent confirmed they’re looking to study abroad, while the rest (10.13 percent) said they’re not interested.
Top five study destinations
The UK (32.71 percent), Canada (16.67 percent), the US (16.54 percent), Germany (10.60 percent), and Australia (7.96 percent) were the top five destinations that participants opted for as their choice for tertiary education outside of Nigeria.
Ranking the reasons for selecting their preferred countries, among the five major destinations for the respondents were scholarship (10.51 percent), safety and security (10.40 percent), and legacy (10.35 percent).
There was also a promise of a part-time job while in school (10.23 percent) and a friendly community (10.18 percent).
The majority of the respondents ranked scholarships (from university, 16.08 percent; government, 15.11 percent) and student loans (14.9 percent) highest in their response to survey inquiries about their expected funding source.
Self-funding ranks among the lowest (8.17 percent), with most Nigerians requiring aid in their UK education quest.
The majority (18 percent) ranked the website as their most preferred platform to engage their university of choice while seeking admission scholarships. WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook Messenger rank second, third, and fourth, respectively.
For decades, the UK has been a major destination due to the language and its bilateral relations with Nigeria.
The study recommended that UK universities intending to lead the market in student intakes have to indicate their willingness to invest in their studies, either by giving full/partial scholarships or working with partners who can.
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