The Federal Government has directed the National Examinations Council (NECO) to ensure that underage students do not sit for in National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) into Federal Government Colleges.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr David Andrew Adejo, who gave the directive on Saturday in Abuja while monitoring the conduct of the 2023 entrance examination into the nation’s 110 federal government colleges, said birth certificate will henceforth be compulsory as registration requirement.
A total of 72,821 candidates sat for the examination on Saturday across the country.
Adejo noted that to get into secondary school, a candidate should be at least 12 years, adding that one could be eleven plus during the examination and by September, such a person would have attained the age of 12 years.
The Permanent Secretary after monitoring the exercise at the Federal Government Girls’ College, Bwari, and Government Day Secondary School, Bwari, said he was unhappy to see many underage persons taking the examination.
He insisted that less than eleven years was unacceptable, disclosing that Airforce School, among others, do not accept candidates less than 12years for admission into their schools.
“This year, I have advice for parents and I beg you, take this advice to any single home you know. We are killing our children by allowing underage children to write the Common Entrance Examination.
“I saw children that I know that are not up to 10, and three of them accepted that they are nine years old. We are doing many things; one, we are teaching the children the wrong values. Education is not about passing exams. Education is teaching, learning and character formation.
“I beg the parents, let these children do the exams when they should. We don’t get value by pushing your child too far. Most of the times if a child starts too early, he or she will have problems later in life.
“Education is designed in such a way that at any particular stage in life, there are messages your brain can take and understand and be able to use. We are moving from education that is reliant on reading textbooks and passing exams.
“We are getting to a stage where education is what you can use your knowledge to do for the society. You put a small child to go through all the rigours, by the time he finishes secondary, getting to the university becomes a problem,” Adejo said.
He advised parents to let their children get to appropriate age before writing this exam, adding that government is going to make sure NECO put in place appropriate measures.
“We didn’t want to get to where we will say bring birth certificate, that is the stage we are going now.”
The Permanent Secretary also hinted that the number of girls that registered for the Common Entrance Examination this year is 38,000 far above the previous years.
Registrar of NECO, Professor Dantani Wushishi, said the conduct of the examination was generally smooth and orderly, saying from the reports gotten from across the country, the examination went on hitch-free.
While confirming that 72,821 candidates registered for for the 2023 National Common Entrance Examination, Wushishi disclosed that Lagos state had the highest number of enrollment followed by FCT, while the state with lowest registration, Kebbi, has about 115 registered candidates.
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