Nigerians continue to congregate in numbers seeking foreign academic qualifications; for many of them, it is a means of leaving the country. A cursory examination of Nigeria’s balance of payments report showed that Nigerians have spent a sum of $11.6 billion (5 trillion naira) on overseas education between 2019 and to date.
On the other hand, the African giant has not attracted any form of influx of foreign students. This is not surprising given the current state of the Nigerian education system, with university students counting more than seven months at home following the ASUU strike actions.
The discord between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has seen Nigerian university students stay at home from February 14, 2022. The strike and falling education standards along with the economic downturn have contributed to the massive brain drain. and increased interest in studying abroad.
Recall that Nairametrics in a previous article noted that Nigeria’s young population has exploited study visas as a perfect formula for “japa” from Nigeria, a phrase used to represent flight from the country.
In another similar articleNigerian businesses are currently facing an exodus of resignations, as foreign schools have resumed academic activities and citizens young and old have jumped on the overseas start bandwagon.
A closer look at the data showed that the amount spent by Nigerians on overseas education dropped significantly in the second half of 2020 following movement restrictions imposed by most economies to curb the spread of covid- 19 in 2020.
The news continues after this announcement
However, the numbers are starting to increase following the reopening of borders and the resumption of physical academic activities in various schools. Notably, $882 million was spent on education-related expenses by Nigerians in the first half of 2022, a 34.3% increase from the $657 million spent in the second half of the year. last.
Impact on the Nigerian Economy
- The massive brain drain that is currently ravaging the Nigerian business world leaves a huge skills gap in most organizations as it seems that the best hands are those that jump on the ‘Japa’ trend which forces companies to train and retrain their staff. fill the space. It has also led to greater competition in terms of hiring, as companies now develop strategies to outsmart each other by securing the best remaining hands in the industry.
- Some companies have had to adopt a more flexible working environment, in order to allow employees who prefer to work part-time or remotely to adapt to their work schedule.
- Spending on education abroad requires the availability of foreign exchange, which the Nigerian economy currently lacks. The increased demand for dollars to pay for foreign services, speculative needs, and imports, among others, caused the local currency to depreciate significantly against the US dollar.
- A look at the Nairalytics exchange rate monitor showed that the official exchange rate fell to an all-time low of N437.5/$1 on Wednesday September 5, 2022, the lowest level on record. This represents a decline of N/$21 from an average of N416/$1 recorded the previous year.
- It is interesting to note that the low volatility of the official exchange rate is only the result of the constant intervention of the Central Bank, which has limited the country’s foreign exchange reserve, losing more than 2 billion dollars since the beginning of the year.
- In the parallel market, the exchange rate saw worse moves, trading as low as N730/$1, a depreciation of N165/$1 from the N565/$1 recorded at the start of the year. A decline fueled by increased demand, speculation and insufficient supply.
- The implication of increased foreign exchange spending is that it increases the pressure on the exchange rate and therefore depreciates the local currency when the foreign exchange supply is insufficient.
- Commercial banks, however, mandated travelers in need of Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) dollars to obtain travel debit cards as they began disbursing dollars per cards. A measure to limit the abuse of travelers who obtain currency but do not use it for travel-related purposes. This follows the continued shortage of currency at some banks to meet travellers’ demands.
It should be noted that Nigerians who leave the country for other climes will help the host country to develop, leaving a huge void in the economy of departure. Meanwhile, some Nigerians who do not have the financial means to travel abroad at the moment are taking online courses at foreign universities in anticipation of when the opportunity arises.
Continued strike action by public universities in Nigeria is contributing to the massive intellectual drain the country is currently experiencing. Coupled with economic issues, insecurity, living conditions and access to adequate infrastructure are ravaging the African giant. It is important for the Nigerian government to improve the state of Nigerian public education while allowing more private actors to operate in the sector, in order to attract investment and develop a more robust education system, devoid of strikes, and to one day be a destination for foreign students to study there.