Education in Nigeria

Joined Commonwealth: 1960 (suspended 1995–99)

Population: 168,834,000 (2012)

GDP p.c. growth: 2.7% p.a. 1990–2012

UN HDI 2012: World ranking 153

Net primary enrolment: 65.7% (2010)

Adult literacy: 51.1% (2008)


The Nigeria Vision 20:2020 expresses the aspiration for Nigeria to become one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2020. This is being pursued through a series of three/four-year plans which articulate strategies, policies, projects and programmes. The main policy thrusts include those of building a productive, competitive and functional human resource base, for economic growth and social advancement; and of developing a knowledge-based economy. The critical policy priorities identified by the Vision include investment in human capital development to enhance national competitiveness; and entrenchment of merit as a fundamental principle and core value.

There are nine years of compulsory education starting at the age of six. Primary school comprises six years and secondary six, with two cycles each of three years. Some 80 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2009). The school year starts in September.

By October 2013, the National Universities Commission had accredited 40 federal universities, 38 state universities and 51 private universities, including four federal universities of technology, three federal universities of agriculture and the National Open University of Nigeria. The longest-established universities are the University of Ibadan (1948); University of Nigeria (Nsukka,1960); Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria,1962); University of Lagos (1962); and Obafemi Awolowo University (Ile-Ife, 1962). The first state university, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, was founded in 1979 and the first private universities, in 1999. Literacy among people aged 15-24 is 72 per cent (2010).