Nigerians spent $378.77 million on foreign education between January and May 2022, The PUNCH reports.
The figure is contained in data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria, calculated based on the data provided on the amount spent on educational service under the sectoral utilisation for transactions valid for foreign exchange.
In January 2022, the apex bank noted that a total of $60,202,730.84 was spent on foreign education, while noting that $69.9m was spent in February 2022.
In March 2022, there was a significant increase as the bank said $87.26 million was spent.
In April, the figures dropped a little as a total of $78.62 million was recorded by the apex bank.
The figure for May 2022 was stated as $82.70 million, making a total of $378.77 million spent so far in 2022.
The PUNCH reports that education in Nigeria, especially in the tertiary education sector, has been marred by industrial actions by tertiary institution-based unions such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union.
Students in public universities have been home since February due to ongoing strike by ASUU.
The data from the apex bank revealed that Nigerians remitted more than $378.77 to foreign academic institutions in five months without significant reciprocity in form of inflows from foreign sources to the local education sector.
The huge net dollar outflows have dual adverse effects of underinvestment in domestic education and creating pressure on the naira exchange rate.
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The high demand for dollars to pay foreign educational institutions affects Nigeria’s foreign reserves and increases pressure on the exchange rate.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation observed that about 76,338 Nigerians were studying abroad as of 2018, the highest from an African country.
Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, the chairperson, ASUU, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Gbolahan Bolarin, said, “The truth is that there is a need for increased funding in the education sector. This is one of the reasons why ASUU is on strike.
“If the education sector is well-funded, lecturers are well paid as and when due, you will not have a situation where people will rather go outside the country to seek education. Have you ever seen foreigners come to Nigeria to get education?”