The Federal Government has revealed plans to ban underage pupils from sitting for the National Common Entrance Examination conducted by the National Examination Council (NECO) for admission into unity colleges across the country.
NECO has been directed to put strict measures in place to prevent underage from registering for the examination, including making birth certificates compulsory as registration requirement.
The Federal Government stated that for a pupil to get into secondary school, he or she should be at least 12 years. The Federal Government added that one could be eleven plus during the examination, but must be 12 before September.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, David Adejo, gave the directive on Saturday, June 3, in Abuja while monitoring the conduct of the 2023 Common Entrance Examination into the 116 Federal Government Colleges across the Federation.
A total of 72,821 candidates sat for the examination on Saturday nationwide.
After monitoring the exercise at the Federal Government Girls College, Bwari, and Government Day Secondary School, Bwari, the Permanent Secretary said he was unhappy to see many underage persons taking the examination.
“This year, I have advised 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.”