Africa student mobility is starting to soar, say scholars

Continent’s youthful population will soon require many more university places, with high numbers likely to study outside their home country

September 22, 2015
Young woman using tablet PC

Booming numbers of young people and a shortage of university places are likely to turn Africa into a key market for internationally mobile students over the next 30 years, a conference has heard.

There are currently about 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 in Africa – a total set to double by 2045, according to the United Nations, explained Chika Sehoole, head of the University of Pretoria’s department of education management and policy studies, at the European Association for International Education’s annual conference, which took place in Glasgow from 15 to 18 September.

Rapid urbanisation – a key driver of participation in higher education – is also likely to push up student numbers, added Professor Sehoole, who said that it won’t be long before Africa will have 80 cities with more than 1 million people, as well as four “megacities” of more than 10 million people (Kinshasa, Lagos, Cairo and Johannesburg).

With the continent’s 2,450 post-secondary education institutions already struggling to find enough places for applicants, students would become increasingly mobile in search of a degree, he said.

“African students are already the most mobile students in the world, with 6 per cent studying outside their home country, although 50 per cent do so intra-regionally,” he said.

Olufemi Bamiro, former vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan, in Nigeria, said that his country saw many well-qualified students go abroad.

“For every 10 students who pass the national entrance exam, five have to go elsewhere,” he said.

Both scholars agreed that Africa should develop a clearer internalisation strategy for education – an agenda largely overlooked by the UN, which published its 17 sustainable development goals in September.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments


Print headline: Africa: mobility ‘starting to soar’

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Post-doctoral Research Associate in Chemistry

University Of Western Australia

PACE Data Support Officer

Macquarie University - Sydney Australia

Associate Lecturer in Nursing

Central Queensland University
See all jobs

Most Commented

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham