Nigerians seeking admissions to foreign universities spent $340.84m to fund their application between January and June 2023, findings by the PUNCH have shown.
This figure is according to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s data on the amount spent on educational services under the sectoral utilisation for transactions valid for foreign exchange.
The apex bank said that in April 2023, a total of $40.54m was spent on foreign education, while noting that $48.81m was spent in May 2023.
However, in June 2023, there was a significant decrease as the bank stated that $32.61m was spent.
When compared with $218.88m recorded in the first quarter of 2023, which is a decrease of $96.92m or 44.28 per cent.
Also, the quarter performed poorly when compared with figures from the second quarter of 2022 with a performance decrease of $124.42m (50.5 per cent).
The PUNCH reported that the monies remitted to foreign academic institutions were without significant reciprocity in the form of inflows from foreign sources to the local education sector.
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.”
A Professor of Education at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Prof. Alabi Thomas, also blamed the migration on government policies which, according to him, have continued to cripple the education sector.