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Homeschooling in Nigeria

by David Engle | Sep 15, 2022 | 5 min read

Just like any other type of schooling, homeschooling is an international endeavor. Millions of families around the world have made the decision to take their child’s education into their own hands, especially during and in the wake of COVID-19. And, like the United States, every country has its own opinions, philosophies, and laws surrounding homeschooling.

In this monthly series, we’ll take a look at different countries around the world and how they view homeschooling as well as the types of laws (if any) those countries have to govern homeschooling. The first country we visited was the second-largest country in the world, and the northern neighbor to the United States–Canada. Then we went island hopping to the Philippines and Puerto Rico before cruising on over to South Africa. We headed back to the Caribbean to the Dominican Republic, traveled all the way to Thailand, made our way back to Mexico, and then journeyed to the Middle East to explore homeschooling in Qatar and Saudi Arabia! After our first venture into Europe to look at Spain, we headed back to Asia to review homeschooling in India, then back West to the United Kingdom and then back to Asia to explore homeschooling in China before shifting back to Europe to learn about homeschooling in Romania and Italy. In this edition, we’ll head back to Africa and visit Nigeria to learn more about homeschooling there!

Nigeria is full of interesting facts and figures:

  • Nigeria is the most-populated country in Africa with more than 227 million people! That’s enough to rank the country sixth in the entire world in population!
  • There are more than 500 indigenous languages spoken in Nigeria.
  • The Nigerian film industry, known as “Nollywood,” is even larger than Hollywood–in fact, it ranks behind only India’s Bollywood as the largest movie industry in the world, producing more than 10,000 films every year.
  • The average life expectancy of a Nigerian citizen is only around 55 years. Many factors contribute to that number, including contaminated drinking water, poverty, and deadly diseases such as malaria and cholera.
  • Nigeria is a member of both the British Commonwealth and the African Union.
  • The 10 most populous cities in Nigeria all boast a population of at least approximately 900,000. Lagos is the country’s largest, with nearly 16 million inhabitants.
  • Nigeria’s population is growing at such a rapid rate annually that experts predict the number to reach more than 390 million citizens by 2050.
  • Chappal Waddi, at nearly 8,000 feet, is the highest point of elevation in Nigeria.


Rules and Requirements for Homeschooling in Nigeria

To put it simply, there are no real rules or requirements when it comes to homeschooling in Nigeria. Homeschooling, which experienced some growth in Nigeria after the COVID-19 pandemic, has never been a traditional alternative to public or private schools in the country, so the government doesn’t seem to recognize it one way or another. It’s not illegal, but there are no formal guidelines that families are required to abide by when deciding whether to educate their child at home, which is just one of many challenges confronting homeschooling in Nigeria:

  • Lack of formal curriculum
  • Lack of government support
  • Lack of parent education related to teaching
  • Lack of a legal category for homeschooling in Nigeria
  • Widespread illiteracy among adults
  • The fact that many mothers work full time

Perhaps it’s time that homeschooling gained some traction in Nigeria, however, because the state of education in the country is rather unfortunate. According to UNICEF, even though primary education is free and compulsory, around 10.5 million Nigerian children ages 5 through 14 do not attend school. Further, only 61% of kids ages 6 to 11 regularly attend primary school, and only about 35% of children ages 3 to 5 receive any form of early childhood education.

Hopefully homeschooling catches on in larger numbers in Nigeria. The websites below offer some optimism as well as helpful information that you can use if you decide to homeschool in the country.

Living in Nigeria provides a diverse landscape that can take you from the jungles to an urban sprawl within just a few miles. Nigeria offers its residents as well as visitors a vast amount of sights and attractions–perfect for homeschool field trips! These include the massive city of Lagos, Yankari National Park, the capital city of Abuja, Kainji Lake National Park, Gashaka Gumti National Park, the city of Enugu, the southern Nigerian jungles, Okomu National Park, Ikogosi Warm Springs, Nigeria National Museum, Benin City, Calabar, Cross River National Park, the hills of Oke Idanre, Zuma Rock, Owu Waterfall, and the many beaches and forests throughout the country.


Nigeria’s School System

Over the past five decades or so, the Nigerian educational system has seen its share of major structural changes. Since 1973, the educational system has utilized the 6-3-3-4 (6 years of primary, 3 years of junior secondary, 3 years of senior secondary, and 4 years tertiary education) system, similar to many countries–but education in Nigeria hasn’t shown many signs of improvement, based on a variety of measurements.

  • Nigeria ranked 161 on the 2020 Global Youth Development Index, which measures the status of young people in 181 countries around the world, according to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s triennial rankings.
  • In 2018, Nigeria ranked 171 in the world for its investments in education and health care as measurements of its commitment to economic growth, according to a scientific study ranking countries for their levels of human capital. This ranking was last among the 10 most populous countries in the world in 2016.
  • According to the Copenhagen Consensus in a post-2015 study, Nigeria has a lower-than-expected level of educational achievement given its moderately high per capita income. Overall, Nigeria ranks 152 out of 187 countries in the UN’s Human Development Index.
  • Half of the Nigerian population over 15 are classified as illiterate. Of those 41 million adults, 10 million are between the ages of 15 and 24.
  • In a report released in early 2020 by a Commission convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and The Lancet, Nigeria ranked in the bottom 10 for performance on child flourishing, which is based on factors like measures of child survival and well-being such as health, education, nutrition, equity, and income gaps. The report, A Future for the World’s Children?, ranked Nigeria 174 out of 180 countries.
  • Funding is a massive problem related to Nigeria’s education system. The percentage of the budget allocated to education annually was only 7% in 2018, an astonishingly low number that is far below UNESCO’s recommended 15% to 26%.
  • Safety is a major concern for families in Nigeria, which has seen its share of school children kidnapped–and worse–in many cities.

All of the figures and findings above seemingly provide quite a bit of motivation for Nigerian families to switch to homeschooling. However, there remains a persisting stigma among Nigerian society that contributes to the lack of widespread acceptance of homeschooling as an alternative form of education.

Much of this can be attributed to not fully understanding the concept of homeschooling, but that doesn’t prevent a portion of Nigerian society from looking down at homeschooling–either because they assume that homeschooling families are unable to afford to educate their children in a prestigious institution or because homeschooled children will not be academically equivalent to their wealthier counterparts. It seems as if more and more families are moving past this sentiment, however, in order to provide their children with a higher-quality education than the school system currently offers.


Bridgeway in Nigeria

If you are living or planning on living in Nigeria, Bridgeway Academy is ready to be the homeschool partner for expat students and families. Bridgeway Academy offers plenty of amazing homeschool programs–plus accreditation, record-keeping, and support–that can be used anywhere in the world! And, don’t forget to look up fellow Bridgeway Academy families–it’s a community that can be found in nearly two dozen countries across the globe, and the Bridgeway Academy community is a strong one. Download our free PDF about homeschooling with a U.S. based program and then contact our admissions team at (800) 863-1474 to start your homeschool adventure. Stay tuned–we’ll be bringing you homeschooling info from another international location soon!

David Engle
Hello, and thanks for reading! I’m David Engle--dad, husband, sports fan, and writer/editor. As a father for the last 18 years (father of two for the last 14), I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in all things related to education, childhood, and parenting, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to share some insights and knowledge with fellow parents. I have been a professional writer and editor for a quarter of a century (it pains me to admit that) and have been writing in the educational space for a number of those years. I reside in southern New Jersey with my wife, two kids, two dogs, and three cats. Never a dull moment.
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