The Demographic Shifts in West African Countries: Implications for Access to Higher Education in Nigeria


West African
Higher Education

How to Cite

Muftahu, M., & Jamil, H. (2020). The Demographic Shifts in West African Countries: Implications for Access to Higher Education in Nigeria. Asia Proceedings of Social Sciences, 6(3), 247-253.


Africa as a continent is so far the fastest growing in the entire world where the projections indicted that the population of the continent would increase by 50% in the next two decades. Presently, the population of the region stands at 1.2 billion and the West African states consist of 15% of the total number while Nigeria accounts for nearly 200 million people with 44% of the people under 15 years old. Consequently, the purpose of this research paper is to see how the demographic change has implications for access to the Nigerian higher education system with a specific focus on university education. In order to understand this phenomenon, this research engaged in secondary data analysis as a technique to obtain information in achieving the study’s objectives. Subsequently, even though the total number of secondary school graduates or output was not accessible for this study, the analysed data from the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) indicated that 1,687,551 and 1,557,017 students sat for university matriculation examinations in Nigeria for 2016 and 2017 academic sessions respectively, in which 97% of the candidates were seeking admission to universities specifically. Similarly, the data indicated that over 65% of the candidates have met the required points to be admitted into universities. On the other hand, data from the National Universities Commission (NUC) showed that there are a total of 91 public universities in Nigeria including both the federal and state universities with a capacity of less than 500,000, showing that more than 50% of the qualified students will be left unadmitted. Consequently, this study strongly recommends adequate demographic shift consideration while planning the national higher education policies in relation to access to university education and higher educational institutions in general.
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