Nigerian learners perform well in entrepreneurship but poorly in tech courses on Coursera — report

December 12, 2023
3 min read
  • A recent study by Coursera shows that sub-Saharan Africa has the highest average annual enrolment growth rate, with 80% growth in professional certificate enrolment despite 36% of its population having Internet access.
  • Nonetheless, data show that 78% of people in sub-Saharan Africa aren’t online, which could be because they are not connected to mobile broadband networks or face other barriers to using mobile Internet.  
  • According to the report, Nigeria enrolled 142,000 students for professional certificates, placing it third behind the United States (1.3 million) and India (654,000).

Nigeria has the world's fourth-highest year-over-year growth rate for professional enrolment. The United States ranks first with 22 million students, followed by India (19 million), the United Kingdom (3 million), and Nigeria (1.7 million). This highlights learners’ commitment to preparing for global work dynamics.  

Nigeria saw a 140% increase in the enrolment of professional certificates, with 33% of learners being women and 79% learning on mobile devices, all within the median age of 33. For context, only 50% of people in the nation have access to the Internet, compared to 70% in South Africa.

Nigerian learners performed higher in courses like entrepreneurship at 51%, communication at 49%, and accounting at 47%, but underperformed in technology courses like cloud computing at 3%, web development at 18%, software engineering at 5%, data analysis at 12%, and data management at 7%. 

Learners from Cameroon had a high enrolment record in technology courses, while those from Zambia led in data science skills. The study shows that Nigerians invest in business skills like auditing, brand management, advertising, and leadership skills. They are also likely to commit to learning design skills like user experience, HTML and CSS, and graphics design. 

In contrast, Botswana, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Zambia are the highest-ranking nations, holding 29, 48, 52, and 58 places, respectively, while Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria are among the bottom 10 of the 100 worldwide list in terms of skill proficiency.

Per the study, a country's proficiency in a particular skill is an average of all learners’ skill scores in that country. 

This data further reveals that sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to emerge as a hub for digital skills learning. Meanwhile, the leaders will have to value investing in technological and data science skills. 

These findings show that Africans are aware of how critical digital skills are transforming the future of work, despite challenges such as inadequate Internet infrastructure, erratic power supplies, and a lack of resources.

Why are digital skills essential?

It’s no news that digital skills are becoming more crucial in the workplace due to technological advancement. A World Economic Forum report shows the growing need for digital skills; in the ten countries the report covers, 6-12% of all online job postings require digital skills.

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The report goes on to say that, in a labour market where digital skills are becoming more important, businesses and individuals must take advantage of the opportunities provided by technology to stay up to date with these new trends. 

It also highlights how crucial it is to acquire the digital skills required to succeed in upcoming labour markets, outlining the most critical competencies and the jobs that call for them.

Furthermore, according to a McKinsey & Company report, the digital future of work will necessitate several human skills in the workplace, ranging from technological expertise to critical social and emotional capabilities.

The future of work will ultimately change due to the demand for digital skills. Individuals and organisations must adapt to these changes to remain competitive in the labour market.

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