16 November 2005

Secondary school attendance in Nigeria

Nigeria is the country with the largest population in Africa, estimated at 130 million in 2005. The most recent education data for Nigeria was collected in a Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) in 2003. 60.1% of all children of primary school age were attending primary school at the time of the survey.

Far fewer children continue their education at the secondary level. The official secondary school age in Nigeria is 12 to 17 years and 35.1% of the children in this age group were in secondary school according to the DHS. For boys the secondary school net attendance rate (NAR) was 37.5% and for girls it was 32.6%.

Secondary school net attendance rate, Nigeria 2003
Bar chart with total, male and female secondary school net attendance rate in Nigeria, 2003
Data source: Nigeria 2003 DHS.

The attendance rate is strongly linked to household wealth and area of residence. 63.8% of children from the richest 20% of all households were in secondary school, compared to only 14.6% of children from the poorest 20% of all households. The secondary school NAR in urban areas was 46.3% and in rural areas it was 28.7%.

At the country level, the secondary school NAR of girls was 4.9% below the male NAR. This gender disparity is a result of lower attendance rates among girls in rural areas and in poor households. In urban Nigeria, the difference between male and female attendance rates was 1.9% and the gender parity index (GPI, the ratio of female to male NAR) was close to 1, in rural Nigeria the difference was 5.8% and the GPI was 0.82. In the poorest households the gender gap was 5.5% but in the richest household the gap was reversed: the NAR of girls was 2.3% above the NAR of boys. To reach the Millennium Development Goal of gender parity, education policy has to target poor rural residents.

Secondary school net attendance rate, Nigeria 2003

NAR (%)
Male NAR (%)Female NAR (%)Difference
male- female
female/ male
Richest 20%63.862.664.9-2.31.04
Poorest 20%14.617.512.05.50.69
GPI: gender parity index. - Data source: Nigeria 2003 DHS.

Related articles:
- Primary school attendance in Nigeria
- Age and level of education in Nigeria
- Household wealth and school attendance in Nigeria

Friedrich Huebler, 16 November 2005 (edited 21 January 2006), Creative Commons License

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