Nigerian students seeking to study abroad spent a whopping $340.8 million mostly in dollar and pounds denominated foreign exchange to fund their tuition fees, application and Visas between January and June 2023, according to Nigeria’s Apexl Bank’s data on the amount spent on educational services under the sectoral utilisation for transactions valid for foreign exchange.
Nigerians Spend $40.5 million to Study Abroad in April 2023
The Central Bank of Nigeria says that in April 2023, a total of $40.54 million was spent to study abroad foreign, and adds that $48.81 million was spent in May 2023.
However, in June 2023, there was a significant decrease as the bank stated that $32.61 million was spent.
When compared with $218.88 million recorded in the first quarter of 2023, which is a decrease of $96.92 million or 44.28%
Also, the quarter performed poorly when compared with figures from the second quarter of 2022 with a performance decrease of $124.42 million which is equivalent to 50.5%.
Experts however predicted that the poor supply on CBN part meant migrating students had been forced to source dollars from Bureau De Change operators, owing to delays by banks to process respective Form A.
Recent data (which was the last released document by the commission) released by the Home Office of the United Kingdom revealed that the number of study visas released to Nigerians increased by 222.8 per cent, with 65,929 issued as of June 2022 as against 20,427 during the same period in 2021.
The Central Bank has a backlog of accumulated forex demand on the official market, which effectively forces individuals and businesses to head to the black market if they need dollars.
But dollar flows to Nigeria had been falling in the last few years due to declining investment and lower exports of crude oil, which account for more than 90 per cent of the country’s export income.
Speaking in an earlier interview, the National President, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, said the failure of the government to invest adequately in the education sector had negatively impacted the education sector.
“You go to tertiary institutions and you see dilapidated buildings, lecturers and students alike are not happy, students do not have access to good equipment for practicals, and at the end of the day, the system continues to churn out half-baked graduates.
“The only solution to this is for the government to invest fully in the sector. If we operate world-class schools in the country, there will be no need for people to go to other countries to obtain a good education.”
In August 2023, the United Kingdom (UK) increased the cost of International English Language Testing System [IELTS] examinations from N80,000 and N90,000 in Nigeria, to the sum of N107, 500. UK requires citizens of any country willing to relocate to their country for work or study opportunities to take the IELTS. The council had said that the increase in cost is necessary to sustain the high quality of standards for the “testing experience.”
Many Nigerians look up to the United Kingdom (UK) as one of the best destinations for seeking better learning opportunities and way of life in foreign countries, with many opting for the education visa route and also taking dependants along to the UK.
In the 2020-21 academic year, 21,305 Nigerian students were enrolled in UK universities. This represents an almost 64 per cent increase from the 2019-20 figure.
The report stated then that N116.000 will now be charged for UK Visas and Immigration and N104,000 for Life Skills in order to sustain the high-quality of standards of the testing experience.