In search of better education and quality of life, a total of 128,770 Nigerian students enrolled in universities in the United Kingdom between 2015 to the end of 2022, analysis of the data obtained from the Higher Education Statistics Agency of the UK has revealed.
The number of Nigerian students has continued to grow over the years, as Nigerians try to escape the horrors of bad governance, and the disruption of academic activities by tertiary-institutions-based unions such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, among others.
In the 2015/2016 academic year, statistics indicate that 16,100 Nigerians were enrolled in UK universities.
During the 2016/2017 session, there was a sharp decline as only 12,655 Nigerians were enrolled, with experts blaming the recession back home in Nigeria for the drop.
In 2017/2018, the number of enrolled Nigerians reduced to 10,685 while it rose marginally to 10,810 during the 2018/2019 academic session.
A total of 13,020 students were enrolled during the 2019/2020 academic session while 21,305 were enrolled during the 2020/2021 session representing a 64 per cent increase.
The latest data available by HESA revealed that 44,195 students were enrolled for the 2021/2022 session, the highest so far since Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
A breakdown of the HESA statistics shows that in the top 10 international students list, Nigeria ranked third behind China and India.
The PUNCH reports that foreign tertiary institutions and their respective countries have continued to benefit from the migration of Nigerian students to oversea institutions.
For instance, in 2021, Nigerian students and their dependants in the United Kingdom contributed an estimated £1.9bn to the economy of the UK, according to a report by SBM Intelligence.
An education activist and Programme Director, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, who had spoken to our correspondent earlier, listed poor government policies as one of the reasons Nigerians seek better opportunities abroad.