The Differences between the American School System and Nigerian School System By: Onosetale Eimunjez

Growing up in Nigeria, everything was fast paced, so naturally, school had to be as well. Whenever I tell people that more than half of the students in my high school graduating class were between the ages of 15 and 16, it is met with so much shock. And so, I started to summarize the idea in a humorous way, saying, “In Nigeria, once you can talk, you can learn, and so you have to start school.”

Education in Nigeria is prioritized to such an extent that every other extracurricular activity one can think of has to take a back seat. A minor culture shock I experienced was finding out how much regard was given to sports in America. Multiple types of sports are played in American schools, a significant amount of funding is allocated to each sport and scholarships are awarded based on the kind of sports one plays. In Nigeria, most games and competitions related to sports are intramural, because for the most part, they are played for fun. Funding for sport teams are not included in financial budgets, scholarships are not awarded and neither are individuals recruited from schools to be part of sport teams. The same idea is applied to other skills like playing instruments or being artistic, etc.

Unlike America, in Nigeria, loans are not taken out for college. Because Nigeria does not have a very well-established credit system, it is unable to accommodate individuals solely based on anticipated compliance. However, because federal and public universities in Nigeria can easily be afforded by the middle class, not being able to take out loans for college does not pose as much of a problem as it does in America.

In America, up until high school, public school is seen as the norm, but schools are often used as wealth classifications in Nigeria. Nigeria has more private schools than public schools. Boarding school is also seen in a more friendly light in Nigeria than it is in America. Because boarding schools advertise building character and independence, parents would prefer to send their children to boarding school when they can afford to do so.

There are a lot more differences between both school systems that are not as pronounced but are subtly significant that they can also cause culture shock to a certain degree. However, based on my experience, both school systems provide different but equally appreciated education that eventually leads to academic success.