How Nigerians spend estimated N14 billion annually to study in Ukraine

Ranked the nation with the fifth most populous international students in Ukraine, Nigerians are said to be spending an estimated N14 billion annually to acquire degrees in the second largest country in Eastern Europe, findings have shown.

According to the Ukraine Center for International Educationthere are 4,379 Nigerian students in the country, most of them studying medicine-related courses.

The huge Nigerian population in the country is not unconnected to the instability in the country’s education system, especially with frequent industrial actions by the workers’ unions, both academic and non-academic.

Since February 14, members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the umbrella for lecturers across public universities in the country, have embarked on an industrial action, which has now been extended for the next three months.

While ASUU strike was yet to be suspended, other workers’ unions in the universities under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) on Monday commenced a two -week warning strike.

Apart from industrial actions, Nigerian tertiary institutions also suffer from dearth of teaching and learning facilities, with the striking workers unions insisting that more than N1 trillion would be needed to fix the rot in the institutions.

There is also the challenge of space with roughly 2 million candidates sitting university entrance examinations while less than 50 per cent of qualified candidates are admitted.

Expenditure breakdown

Based on the calculation by the Ukrainian centre, each international student in the country spends an average of 6,000 to 8,000 dollars annually, according to data compiled by Eruderaa higher education search platform.

The platform further noted that based on the figure, Nigerian students in Ukraine spend annually between 26 and 35 million dollars, an equivalent of between N10.8 and N14.5 billion based on N415 per dollar exchange rate at Nigeria’s official market.

According to Erudera, a huge number of Nigerian students study General Medicine – MBBS, Dentistry, Doctor of Pharmacy, Nursing, and postgraduate studies in Medicine in Ukraine.

It said Nigerian students are known to be among the best students, out of all foreign students studying general medicine programs at national medical universities.

International students in Ukraine

The number of international students in Ukraine pink by 50 percent from 53,664 in 2011 to 80,470 in 2020.

Nigeria has the fifth largest number of international students in Ukraine, behind India – 18,429; Morocco – 8.233; Azerbaijan – 5,470; and Turkmenistan – 5,344 students.

The director, Ukraine Center for International Education, Olena Shapovalova, said the country hopes to have attracted more than 100,000 international students by the year 2025.

“We are very pleased to note the rapid growth in the number of foreign students since 2011. In 2019, we reached a historic high – 80,470 people…I hope, by 2025 we will be able to reach the figure of more than 100,000,” she said.

In 2019 alone, it said: “tuition costs, accommodation, food, transport, insurance and other expenses of international students in the country reached the amount of more than 570 million dollars”.

Ukraine as a choice of study

One of the reasons Ukraine appears to be one of the top choice destinations for international students is that qualifications from Ukraine are well recognized all over the world, especially for medical science and engineering courses.

Ukraine is also said to be one of the cheapest countries to live in, according to a report by Ceoworld magazinea business magazine, which ranked Ukraine 107th of 132 most expensive countries in the world in 2020 –cheaper than Australia, the US, Canada, and the UK, which ranked 16th, 20th, 24th, and 27th respectively.

Other reasons include cheaper tuition fees compared to the UK, US and Canada, and absence of eligibility tests.

According to StudyinUkraine.SITE, tuition fees for MBBS range from $4,000 to $5,000 per year in Ukraine; $15,000 to $60,000 in the UK; $15,000 to $75,000 in the US; $20,000 to $90,000 in Canada; and $25,000 to $75,000 in Australia.

Russia-Ukraine war

Meanwhile, with the latest aggression from Russia and a war that has lasted weeks, Ukraine’s huge income from the international students is already thrown into jeopardy, as students fled the country due to the ongoing war.

On March 6, Nigeria received the fourth batch of evacuees from Ukraine at Nnamdi Azikiwe International AirportAbuja.

A total of 306 evacuees were airlifted from Hungary where they had fled following the war in Ukraine.


PREMIUM TIMES had reported the arrival of 772 evacuees who arrived earlier through Max Air and Air Peace, the two airlines contracted to airlift Nigerians returning from Ukrain.

The government also approved $8.5 million for the evacuation of 5,000 stranded Nigerians, with 100 dollars reportedly given to each of the evacuees to help them get to their relative upon their arrival in the country

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