Most expats send their children to private international schools in Nigeria. State-sponsored schools are a far cry from satisfying Western standards, and are plagued by staff shortages, lack of books and materials, and a deficiency in learning tools and facilities.
International schools in Nigeria
Foreign nationals may initially be surprised at just how many international school options
there are in Nigeria's major urban centres, namely the capital city of Abuja and the commercial capital of Lagos. As expected, rural areas are unable to support the same type of provision; expat parents living far from a large city will need to consider homeschooling, or sending their child to a boarding school.
Most international school curricula in Nigeria follow British, American or International Baccalaureate standards. The quality of education tends to be high, and students need not worry about falling behind during their time abroad. Many are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and offer a healthy choice of extra-curricular activities.
Although some international schools may follow the format of the school year in their home country, the school year in Nigeria runs from January to December, and is divided into three semesters. The school day in Nigeria runs roughly between 8am and 3pm; timetables are subject to changes according to age level and institution.
Fees and admission to international schools
Expats should be fully aware that such a posh education amid a sea of sub-standard state options certainly comes at a price. On top of inordinately high basic fees, other expenses can include school uniforms, text books, extra-curricular activities and transport. It's vital that expats moving to Nigeria with children stipulate subsidies and allowances for education in addition to their contracted salary.
Admission to the best schools can be competitive and, in some cases, preference is given to students of a certain nationality or those who have parents employed by a certain company, organisation or government body. Sometimes, organisations will have reserved spots in particular schools for the children of their employees. Expats should enquire within their company if this is the case before enrolling.
It is often required that children sit for an entrance exam, submit up to two years of their past records, or even go for a personal interview.
Homeschooling in Nigeria
Expats wishing to keep their children out of the Nigerian schooling system, or those who are relocating to Nigeria on a short-term contract may choose to homeschool their children. Homeschooling is permissible in Nigeria, although there is very little policy to regulate this.