FG Bans Children Below 11 From Common Entrance Exams
The Federal Government has banned children below the age of 11 from participating in the National Common Entrance Examination for admission into Unity Schools, and made presentation of birth certificate a compulsory requirement for prospective applicants during registration.
To this end, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr David Andrew Adejo, has directed the National Examination Council (NECO) to ensure strict measures were put in place and compliance enforced to prevent underage persons from registering for the examination.
Adejo gave the directive yesterday in Abuja, while monitoring the conduct of the 2023 Common Entrance Examination for total of 72,821 candidates jostling to gain admission into the 110 Federal Government Colleges nationwide. While stating his displeasure with the number of under age children, who sat for the examination, the permanent secretary noted that a candidate should at least, be above the age of 11, when sitting for the examination but should have attained the age of 12 by September when new academic session usually commences.
He said: “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 can you 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 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. “Let our children get to appropriate age before writing this exam and we are going to make sure NECO put in place appropriate checks.
“We didn’t want to get to where we will say bring 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,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary also noted that the efforts of the Federal Government and other stakeholders in encouraging girls’ education was yielding fruit, saying the number of girls that registered for the Common Entrance Examination this year was 38,000 far above the previous years.