The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria has recently garnered more global attention as one of the next leading economies. While the country supports free public education, a large portion of the population does not take advantage of the education system. Because of this, the Nigerian government is working on initiatives to promote the benefits of education and increase school attendance.
With over 250 ethnic groups and more than 520 spoken languages, Nigeria has an extremely rich history and a large spectrum of diversity. Teaching abroad in Nigeria is a great way to immerse yourself in a dynamic environment and culture as well as gain international teaching experience.Photo credit: Mark Fischer.
Most of the demand for teachers in the public education system falls within the primary schools. Only 32% of males and 27% of females go through secondary education due to the poor infrastructure, lack of funding, and shortage of qualified teachers.
Although it may be difficult to secure a teaching position in a public school, there is no doubt that the Nigerian public education system needs a little help. While public schools could definitely benefit from hiring more international teachers, it can be a challenge to go through the Nigerian Ministry of Education to find teaching opportunities.
Private International Schools:
Many teach abroad program providers have established relations with international schools in Nigeria. It is easiest to find a teaching position with a private educational institution to avoid complicated administrative application processes through the Ministry of Education. While the expectations for teachers will vary depending on the educational institution, most international teachers will be expected to teach English classes and possess a teaching credential. Some teachers also decide to teach privately as tutors to supplement their income.
There are many orphanages and non-profit organizations in Nigeria that are constantly looking for international volunteers to teach local children in need. Since these teaching opportunities are done on a volunteer basis, organizations often only require volunteers to have a high school diploma as well as the heart to serve some of the least fortunate citizens in Nigeria.
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
The best way to look for a teaching opportunity in Nigeria is to apply to a teaching program that can arrange specific teaching placements with local educational institutions. While most of the hiring for teachers in Nigeria occurs before the beginning of the school in August or September, many of these teaching programs may have application deadlines well before then.
Some internship programs are designed to provide TEFL training and certification courses before placing you in a teaching position. Since most teach abroad opportunities in Nigeria are offered through private schools, the specific qualifications and skills that are required may vary. Most schools will require teachers to possess a Bachelor’s degree in education or an equivalent teaching credential. For those planning to teach in a public school, the Nigerian Ministry of Education admits teachers on the basis of merit, and requires all applicants to have a Bachelor’s degree in education, or a specific subject area.
Monthly Average Salary:
50,000 Nigerian Naira; Public school teachers in Nigeria earn much less than private school teachers. Even now, Nigerian teachers are struggling in negotiations with local state governments to receive minimum wage. There is a lack of funding for education throughout the country and a large number of unemployed young graduate teachers. However, don’t let this worry you too much. Many teach abroad programs will provide you with a salary that will not be affected by the Nigerian government’s budget for education. Volunteer teachers are also often provided with a reasonable stipend to help cover basic living costs.
Average Cost of Living:
The average cost of living in Nigeria is actually quite high compared to other African countries. Nigeria’s two largest cities, Lagos and Abuja, are two of the most expensive places to live in the world. Still, the majority of Nigerians survive on 1 USD a day. This simply shows the stark contrast between the economic situations of the wealthy and the poor. Chances are, you will be able to live comfortably during your time in Nigeria. Below are some examples of costs in Nigeria. Since the conversion rate between the Nigerian Nairo to USD is 1 to 0.01, the costs have been converted to USD to prevent you from getting a headache.
- 1 bedroom apartment rent: $400
- 1 bottle of milk: $3
- 1 pair of jeans: $40
- 1 way transportation ticket: 20 NT
Classroom and Work Culture in Nigeria:
- Student/teacher relations: Because of the large teacher to student ratios in classrooms, teachers in public schools may have difficulty keeping control of the classroom. The classroom environment is relatively unconstrained, with many students not afraid to speak up. However, students still hold respect for teachers and will rarely challenge them.
- Dress Code: Teachers in Nigeria dress relatively conservatively at all times. Female teachers are especially cautioned against wearing pants or trousers. Some schools require students to wear school uniforms, but public schools in rural areas often do not have the funds to do so.
- Greetings: Teachers are usually greeted with a title followed by their full name. Students are addressed by their first names only.