Nigeria - Country Commercial Guide
Education and Training
Last published date:


Unit:      USD Million

Total Market Size for Education






2022 (Estimated)

Total Market size





Total local production





Total exports





Total Imports





Imports from the U.S.





Exchange rate: 1 USD





Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports) 

Data Sources: 

Total Local Production: Industry contacts, Federal Ministry of Education, National Universities Commission (NUC)

Total Exports: Industry sources

Total Imports: Leading importers, distributors, and industry associations

Imports from U.S.: U.S. Census Bureau

Nigeria’s increasing population poses a significant challenge to the country’s educational sector. More than half of Nigeria’s over 200 million population is below the age of 35. Nigeria is struggling to provide quality educational services to its population and rapid growth will add millions more students in the coming years.

With the population increase, infrastructure deficit, poor funding, and increasing poverty, the number of out-of-school children is rising to alarming levels. According to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), approximately 20% of the total out-of-school children population in the world are in Nigeria, with more than 13 million children in the country not enrolled in school. Of this, 69% come from the country’s north, where cultural practices and economic deprivation limit children’s active participation in school, particularly among females. Almost two-thirds of all students are functionally illiterate. Anambra State (located in the south-eastern part of the country) has the lowest percentage of out-of-school children (6%), while Bauchi (in the north-central region) has the highest number (55%).

Both private and public educational services are provided in the country across all stages of the Nigerian education system (kindergarten to university). The country operates a 6-3-3-4 (K-12th grade) education system which mandates that six years be spent in primary/elementary school, three years in junior secondary/middle school, three years in high school, and a minimum of four years in tertiary institutions such as universities, colleges, or polytechnics. Twelfth graders are required to take two major examinations determining admission into public or private tertiary institutions within and outside Nigeria. The first of these examinations is the West African Senior Secondary Certification Examination (WASCCE), conducted by the West African Examinations Council. The second is the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board of Nigeria. Over 1.6 million students sit for the WASSCE examinations each year.

Resources allocated to education from the Nigerian government have not been able to keep up with the demand of a country given the sizable youth population. Public institutions have declined both in terms of quality of education delivered and education infrastructure capacity. A substantial number of would-be college and university students are turned away from the system due to a lack of classroom space allocation. The Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) have indicated that of the 10 million applicants that sought entry into Nigerian tertiary institutions, only 26% gained admission.

Dependence on the federal and state governments for funding has resulted in the poor state Nigerian educational institutions. The decline of public institutions creates a market opportunity for the provision of quality education for those who have the means to pay. In the past two decades, there has been an increase in the number of private universities in the country providing value where public institutions do not.

Based on data from the National Universities Commission (NUC), the number of private universities in Nigeria is 111, compared to 49 federal universities and 57 state universities. Private institutions can cost as much as $6,000 dollars per term. Nigeria provides U.S. institutions a promising market of study abroad students. Middle income or affluent Nigerians send their children to other countries for quality education, particularly the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ghana, Malaysia, and India. According to the International Institute of Educators (IIE) Open Doors Report, Nigeria has over 85,000 students studying abroad, including a yearly average of over 16,000 students studying in the United States.

In the 2022 education budget, Nigeria allocated 5.4% of the national budget to the Federal Ministry of Education amounting to $2.2 billion (923.79 billion naira).  Out of this, $1.5 billion (642 billion naira) is proposed to go into the recurrent expenditure of the ministry covering personnel and overhead costs while $300 million (127.3 billion naira) is devoted to capital expenditure. This is the sector’s lowest allocation in 10 years and poses a setback to the growth of Nigeria’s domestic education capacities.

To distribute education services across the county, the Nigerian government engaged with a digital learning platform called uLesson in 2020. The platform is created by a Nigerian start-up focused on digital learning applications for students. The product has over 100,000 downloads and is aimed at helping Nigerian students prepare for key examinations such as UTME (JAMB) and WAEC. uLesson partnered with state governments such as Plateau to provide this solution to children. Other companies operating in this space are providing similar services, including and, which have been accredited by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Education to warehouse virtual content which can be accessed online and offline. High rates of smartphone penetration and growing use of broadband internet are driving the adoption of technological solutions in the Nigerian education sector.

Technology-based educational institutions offering online education have begun to reap the dividends of investing in telecommunication infrastructure following school shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has increased the visibility of opportunities for technology adoption in the Nigerian educational sector, from delivery of lessons to examinations.


Several opportunities exist for U.S. higher education institutions, suppliers of educational products, and educational service providers across Nigeria.

Nigerians increasingly favor foreign education due to the inadequacies in the Nigerian educational system. However, due to the high cost of foreign education, many Nigerians cannot travel abroad and have therefore adopted a distance learning posture, or a hybrid learning mode. However, these methods are not preferred due to relatively high cost without several of the benefits of foreign education. U.S. higher education institutions can take advantage of this opportunity by partnering with local educational institutions to provide educational services.

The application and admissions process to some U.S. universities can seem intimidating and complicated. Engagement with Nigerian educational institutions such as WAEC, NECO, and JAMB to create solutions that will improve confirmation and verification of results is imperative. U.S. suppliers are favored in Nigeria for the provision of technology-based solutions. For example, a U.S.-based company supplies smart cards to WAEC for candidate verification during its annual WASSCE exams. In addition, U.S.-based technologies are increasingly being adopted at computer testing centers across the country.

The recruitment of education agents who are based in Nigeria to help prospective students through the application and admissions process is critical. This improves the prospects of students completing their applications, gaining admission, and procuring documentation requirements for their visa application.  

With COVID-19, several institutions, including the Lagos Business School, pivoted to using Zoom, a California-headquartered company, to deliver lectures to students. Several other U.S.-based education technology companies have found success in the Nigerian market by identifying local partners and educational service providers with direct access to end-users (e.g., students or institutions) who use their localized solutions for the dissemination of educational instructions.

The pandemic has created an opportunity for U.S. companies selling educational solutions for online lectures and exams to Nigerian universities, particularly private institutions. The federal and state government universities, due to dwindling government revenues in 2021, are likely to have less capacity to purchase services in the near term.

For more information, e-mail: Banksharon Nwaneri, U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Consulate General, Lagos, Nigeria at