Of recent, the trickle of international students choosing to study in Africa is gradually becoming a wave. This indeed does not come as a surprise.
The Great Library of Alexandria, Egypt’s most prominent library made Alexandria a citadel of learning.
Just like in Alexandria, many African tribes had education systems, each unique to the people who practiced them.
Today, many African nations have adopted western education and have developed on it. Now some African universities can proudly compete with universities in other continents on a global podium.
Africa’s affordable education system is based on its very diverse and unique culture and society. Additionally, the natural beauty of Africa is not only dazzling but in some way serene and suitable for learning.
Why Study in Africa?
Studying in an African country exposes the student to a deeper understanding of the history of the world.
The second rise of civilization is said to have begun from Africa. Also the oldest dated human skeleton, Lucy, was discovered from Africa. This shows that Africa indeed is a place where the stories of the world lies.
At the moment, there are a lot of African immigrants establishing themselves in Western communities and changing the face of the globe with the knowledge and culture they obtained from their roots. Choosing to study in Africa will help with understanding African issues and cultures.
So many African expatriates (especially those with doctoring and nursing degrees) have shown that education in Africa is at a global standard.
What’s more, education in Africa is really affordable and Tuition fees are not exorbitant.
While Studying in an African country, you will discover diverse people who speak multiple languages with a swinging cultural variation and a rich history. Despite having multiple languages, most African countries officially have French or English as an official language, this bridges the communication gap which could have been a major gaping rift.
Considering these, why wouldn’t you study in Africa?
The African Educational System
Africa as a continent consist of 54 countries and these countries are grouped in regions. Policies most times sweep across regions, but there are indeed many similarities despite regional policies.
For our case study we will examine the educational system in Western Africa and use the explanation like the whole.
In West Africa, the educational system is grouped into four distinct stages,
- The Primary Education
- The Junior Secondary Education
- The Senior Secondary Education
- Tertiary Education
The Primary Education
Primary education in West Africa is a six year program, with the child beginning from Class 1 and completing at Class 6. Children between the age 4 to 10 years are enrolled into the academic program.
Each academic year in the primary education program involves three terms (a term is approximately three months) and at the end of each term the pupils are assessed to determine their academic progress. Students who pass the assessments are promoted to a higher class.
During the primary school education, pupils are taught to begin and appreciate identifying shapes, reading, writing, solving problems and physical exercises.
At the end of the 6 year primary education program, pupils are enrolled for the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) and children who pass the examination are promoted to Junior Secondary School.
Junior Secondary Education
After a successful primary education, pupils who pass the NPSE enroll for a three year junior secondary education program beginning from JSS1 to JSS3.
Just like in the primary program, the academic year of the junior secondary education program is made up of three terms.
At the end of an academic year, students take class exams to get promoted to a higher class.
The junior secondary education program is concluded with an external examination, the Basic Educational Certificate Examination (BECE) which qualifies the student for promotion to senior secondary school or technical vocational education.
Senior Secondary Education/ Technical Vocational Education
With junior school completed, the student has a choice to continue with theories in a senior secondary education program or to enroll for a technical vocational education which involves more practical learning. Either of the programs takes three years to reach completion. The senior education program begins from SSS1 and runs through to SSS3.
At this point the student makes a choice of the professional career path to be taken either in the arts or in science.
The program also runs with three terms in an academic year and class exams are taken at the end of each session to promote students from a lower class to a higher one.
After a third term in the final year, the student is required to take the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) which if passed, qualifies the student for a shot at furthering education at a university.
To be eligible for a shot at the tertiary education, the student is required to pass at least five subjects in SSCE with credits, Mathematics and English included.
University Education and other Tertiary Education
After completing the senior secondary school program by writing and passing the SSCE, the student is eligible to apply and seat for screenings into a tertiary institution.
While applying, the student is required to specify the program of choice for the chosen university. To obtain a Bachelor’s degree in most programs at tertiary institutions, you will be required to spend four years of intensive education and research. For other programs, it takes five to six years of study to complete a first degree.
Academic sessions in Tertiary education consists of two semesters, with each semester taking approximately five months each. Students take exams and are graded according to the University’s chosen Grading Scale.
At the end of the program, students take professional exams and usually write a dissertation which qualifies them for a career in their chosen field of study.
Requirements to Study in Africa
depending on the level of education and discipline, might have different entry requirements
- Certification Requirements
To study in an African University, a student needs to have completed secondary school education or it’s equivalent and must have written the mandatory certification examination.
The student may be required to undergo screening exercises by the university of choice to determine his/her worthiness for the program applied for.
- Application requirements
As a requirement to study in Africa, the student is expected to apply for a program in a choice university. Before applying, it will be necessary to do some real research on the institution of interest to determine the probability of your chance.
Most African Universities have really high standards, therefore you should find a perfect fit for your program and your dream. Visit the official website of the university and read through the articles to gain insight on the applications you are required to submit and the list of programs which the institution offers.
If you feel confused at any point reach out to the university directly by using the Contact Us information on the web page, the University will be glad to guide you.
- Necessary documents
If you are an international student then it will be very necessary to obtain important documents for your travel and studies. Schedule an appointment with an African Embassy or Consulate and express your interest in studying in that particular African country.
You may have to answer a few questions and you would have an opportunity to ask yours too. While obtaining information, also obtain information on the documents required for education in that country. You would be easily guided through the process.
However, before that, here are some of the documents normally requested from an international student,
- A completed and signed application form.
- Proof of payment of the application fee.
- A secondary school certificate or its equivalent (if you are applying for a Bachelor’s degree program).
- A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree certificate (if you are applying for a Master’s or PhD program respectively).
- Transcript of result.
- Passport-sized photographs.
- A copy of your international passport or identity card.
- A curriculum vitae and motivation letter, if applicable.
- Apply for a student visa
After receiving the letter of acceptance from your choice university, go ahead and begin the process for your student visa application by contacting the Embassy of your choice African country in your home country.
You may need to submit, along with health insurance, fund certificates and possible vaccination certificates as well.
Obtaining a Student Visa is an important requirement.
Study in Africa’s Finest Universities
- University of Cape Town.
- University of Witwatersrand.
- Stellenbosch University.
- University of KwaZulu Natal.
- University of Johannesburg.
- Cairo University.
- University of Pretoria.
- University of Ibadan.
Available Courses to Study in Africa
- Nursing Science
- Petroleum and Gas Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Language Studies
- English Studies
- Engineering Studies
- Marketing Studies
- Management Studies
- Business Studies
- Art Studies
- Economic Studies
- Technology Studies
- Design Studies
- Journalism and Mass Communication
- Tourism and Hospitality
- Natural Sciences
- Social Sciences
- Humanities Studies
- Theater studies
- Stage Design
- Computer Science
- Information Systems
- Information Technology
- Web Design Technology
- Film Studies
- Television Studies
- Tourism Management
- Cultural Studies
- Development Studies
- Social Work
Cost of Studying
There are so many universities in Africa, and to write about the cost of studying in all of them will not only be exhausting, it will also be a bore. So we will be giving a range of values which you can take to the bank. It will be recommended that you work with the maximum range for any nation which you’ve chosen.
Taking an overall study of the cost of studying in Africa, one will readily realize that the tuition fees are very much affordable compared to those of their European counterparts. It’s therefore more realistic and reasonable to choose Africa as a choice study location to save cost.
However, the cost of studying varies across the different regions and nations, and the variations are largely dependent on the country’s policy, the type and length of the program and the student’s nationality, amongst others.
Most African countries run public universities serviced by state funds, in these universities a Bachelor’s degree program may cost between 2,500–4,850 EUR and a masters degree program between 1,720—12,800 EUR.
These are Tuition fees and do not include the cost of books, other study materials or membership fees.
Also private universities in Africa charge more than these given values above. So if you have picked a private university, then prepare yourself for a more expensive program (with more value and comfort attached).
Cost of Living in Africa
To live comfortably in Africa, international students will need between 1200 to 6000 EUR annually to cover for cost for feeding, accommodation, transportation and utility. The overall amount may increase or decrease based on your lifestyle and spending habits.
Here, It should be noted that you should change your currency to that of the nation where you now base.
Can I Work while Studying in Africa?
Unfortunately, Africa being a developing country is yet to find a balance between job creation and personnel training. Academics in Africa is on par with global standards but there are few facilities to absorb the number of professionals churned out by academic institutions annually.
So while you might be able to find a job, it could be one for which you are underpaid for. Working while studying in Africa is going to be a hectic time.
Challenges Faced while Studying in Africa
- Culture Shock
- Language Barriers
- Xenophobic Attacks
- Unstable Governments and Policies
If you choose to study on Africa, the experience will change you—positively. You will learn how to grow your knowledge and survive through tough situations.
What do you think about studying in Africa? Let us know in the comment section below.