Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Bills, David

First Committee Member

Ogren, Chris

Second Committee Member

McNabb, Scott

Third Committee Member

Anthony, Jerry

Fourth Committee Member

An, Brian


This study investigated educational stratification in Nigeria to determine how socioeconomic status, gender, and regional differences influence achievement in education using the nationally representative 2010 Nigeria Education Data Survey (NEDS). These cross-sectional data are among the first quality household survey data available for assessing aspects of education in Nigeria. In the last four decades, Nigeria has experienced dramatic expansion of its educational system. Following the introduction of educational policies and programs, growth in enrolment at the primary and secondary levels has largely been sustained. For instance, enrolment of pupils in primary education increased from 3,515,827 in 1970 to 14,383,487 in 1985 and to 20,080,986 in 2010. However, this impressive gain was followed by dwindling quality in the educational system, which has reported differing educational outcomes for different groups.

Prior research in Nigeria has not examined how socioeconomic status influences achievement in education using large scale representative data. In this study, I primarily focused on assessing socioeconomic status to determine how it predicts achievement in reading and numeracy in Nigerian school children, ages 5 to 16 years. Nigeria is also known to have wide gender and regional gaps in education. Thus, I assessed gender and region variables to determine how much they contribute to the variance in educational achievement. I analyzed NEDS 2010 data and reported the findings of the descriptive and multivariate regression statistics. Descriptive statistics show the frequencies and distribution of the variables in the study. The multivariate regression analyses were employed to determine the relationship of socioeconomic status, gender, and region (the main predictor variables) with achievement in reading and numeracy (outcome variables). Given the use of survey data, both the descriptive and regression statistics were based on weighted statistics.

This study found a significant wealth gap in reading and numeracy achievements among Nigerian children. I also found that family wealth, parental education, and region explain differences in academic achievement. Family wealth was found to be the most important variable influencing achievement in reading and numeracy, followed by mother's education and then region.

Overall, the findings in this study suggest no significant differences in reading and numeracy achievement for boys and girls. Although gender was not found to be consistently associated with academic achievement in this study, it should not be assumed to mean that gender equality in education exists in Nigeria. It is widely reported elsewhere that gender-biased educational opportunity plays a major role in influencing educational attainment and achievement. More research, preferably using a longitudinal study design, is needed to identify the trends and patterns of gender roles in Nigerian educational attainment and achievement. The findings in this study provide the foundation for making further investigations on the association of social, economic, and cultural factors with academic achievement and to assess inequality in education in Nigeria.


Educational Disadvantage, Educational Inequality, Educational Opportunity, Educational Stratification, Gender Inequality, Regional Inequality


ix, 176 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 109-119).


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Copyright © 2013 Nkechi Catherine Onwuameze