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Universities in Nigeria - statistics and facts

Nigeria counts 170 universities. Of these, 79 are private, 43 are federal, and 48 are state universities. Some of Nigeria's oldest universities are the University of Ibadan, the University of Nigeria, the Obafemi Awolowo University, and the University of Lagos. These four institutions were founded between the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1960s. Over the last decades, the number of universities established in the country increased considerably, in particular the number of private institutes. The largest Nigerian university is by far the National Open University, with over half a million students enrolled. The National Open University of Nigeria is the largest open and distance learning institute on the whole African continent. It is based in Abuja but has several campuses across the country.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students

In the academic year of 2018/2019, there were 1.8 million undergraduate students in Nigeria. Federal universities are usually the largest ones and in total have the highest number of enrollments. Male students are the majority in federal as well as in state institutions, while there are slightly more female students in private universities. Sciences and social sciences are the most chosen disciplines among Bachelor students. However, there were some consistent differences in the enrollment of women and men. For instance, in engineering, technology, and computing faculties, male students represented the vast majority. Around 120 thousand students were pursuing Master degrees in 2019, excluding diploma and Ph.D. students. The most common fields of study were administration and management, education, sciences, and social sciences. These were the main subjects also among Ph.D students.

Staff and female presence

There are around 200 thousand people working at universities in Nigeria, including academic and non-academic staff. The percentage of women varied by sectors and positions. Among academic personnel, they made up 24 percent of the total. In 2019, there were roughly 11 thousand university professors. Men represented the majority in all disciplines. Sciences faculties, which had the highest number of professors, counted two thousand male professors and 343 female professors. The same year, the faculties of basic health and health sciences had the highest number of students per teacher, while medicine and veterinary medicine recorded the lowest. Heads of universities are also mostly men.


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