Challenges in Nigeria’s education sector and the migration of Nigerian postgraduate students to South African universities

Joseph O. IseOlorunkanmi, Mathew E. Rotimi, Grace O. Adebola, Adedoyin I. Lawal, Nweke Love C. Henry, Tunde Adebisi

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13 Citations (Scopus)
318 Downloads (Pure)


Education remains the weapon for upward stratification, social and economic development of any nation but the Nigerian government has not shown enough commitment to the educational sector. The manifestation could be seen in the shrinking government funding on education, decaying and lack of infrastructure in Nigeria’s universities which have led to demoralization of the academia. A major consequence of this is the frustration experienced by postgraduate students who are pursuing higher education and having to spend longer period than expected record time. This frustration in pursuing higher educational qualification often leads to stunted career progression. This has led to an alternative decision to migrate in search of higher education abroad. Consequently, in recent times, Nigerian postgraduate students have migrated more than ever before to South African Universities that are believed to have modern facilities for training and ensuring completion of programmes in record time. This study employed the use of structured questionnaire to investigate the determinants of this form of migration. Among other findings, this study found that the decision to migrate and pursue postgraduate student abroad is informed by the demoralization and frustration suffered in attaining postgraduate education in Nigeria. The study also found that many Nigerian postgraduate migrant students that desired to stay back in South Africa after the programme were discouraged from doing so because of the frequent hostilities between the bulging South African youths. Their hostility is associated with the shrinking capacity of the host government (South Africa) to create new jobs for them. In addition, the belief of the agitating South African youth that the migrant postgraduates are responsible for their unemployed status, by taking up their jobs especially in those areas where required skills among the South African are lacking further gingers hostilities. This study, therefore, suggests among others that the home country should increase budgetary allocation to improve the education sector as well as monitor such allocation to ensure that it is prudently utilized. It is also recommended that institutional processes and procedures to monitor and evaluate postgraduate studies in Nigerian universities be institutionalized.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1890897
JournalCogent Social Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date14 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 14 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.


  • career progression
  • education
  • Frustration
  • migration
  • Nigeria


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