By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The Federal Government has disclosed reasons for contemplating the banning of underage candidates admission into Unity schools, saying parents and guardian are killing the country’s education system by allowing children under the age of 10-years -old to write the Common Entrance Examination.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Andrew Adejoh, made this disclosure in Abuja, the nation’s capital on Saturday, June 3, 2023 while monitoring the 2023 common entrance examinations into Unity Schools.
A total of 72,821 candidates sat for the examination organised by the National Examination Council nation -wide.
According to Adejoh, stricter measures will be embarked upon to ensure that underage candidates are denied admission into Unity schools in the country.
“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 time, if a child starts too early, he or she will have problems later in life,” Adejoh said, saying education is designed in such a way that at any particular stage in life, there are messages children 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 society. You put a small child to go through all the rigours, by the time he finishes secondary, getting to University becomes a problem. I had that experience with a friend. Till date that friend did not get into a University, simply because he was put into school earlier than age that he was supposed to be put into school.
While calling on parents and guardians to let their wards get to an appropriate age before writing this exam, the permanent secretary also disclosed that the ministry is working in tandem with NECO to puts in place appropriate measures and checks on the development.
“We didn’t want to get to the point where we would say “bring a birth certificate,” but that is the stage we are going to now. In registering, also upload the child’s birth certificate, so that at our own end, we are able to cut some of these things.”
Adejoh, who also noted that the efforts of the Federal Government and other stakeholders in encouraging girls’ education are yielding fruit, added that the number of girls that registered for the Common Entrance Examination this year is 38,000, far above the previous years.
The Registrar of NECO, Professor Dantani Wushishi, said the conduct of the examination was generally smooth and orderly, saying from the reports received from across the country, the examination went on hitch-free.
While confirming that 72,821 candidates registered for the 2023 National Common Entrance Examination, Wushishi disclosed that Lagos State had the highest enrollment, followed by FCT, while the state with the lowest registration, Kebbi, has about 115 registered candidates.
NECO registrar also disclosed that the Council would put in place mechanisms to check some of the noticeable gaps caused by an upsurge in registration a day before the examination.