The Federal Government has directed the National Examination Council (NECO) to ensure that birth certificates are compulsory for registration of the examination, as part of measures to prevent underage persons from registering.
The government has also banned underage children from writing the National Common Entrance Examination preparatory for admission into Unity Schools across the country.
David Adejo, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education gave the directive on Saturday in Abuja during monitoring the conduct of the 2023 Common Entrance Examination into Federal Government Colleges across the Federation.
Mr. Adejo said to gain admission into one of the 110 secondary schools, a candidate must be at least 12 years, explaining that even if a candidate will clock eleven years by September, such a person is not eligible.
He expressed dismay that many underage children took the examination at the Federal Government Girls College, Bwari, and Government Day Secondary School, Bwari.
“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 our children too far. Most of the time 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,” he said.
Adejo expressed delight with the number of girls that participated in the examination, saying “The number of girls that registered for the Common Entrance Examination this year is 38,000 more than previous years”.
He noted that the efforts of the Federal Government and other stakeholders in encouraging girls’ education are yielding fruit.
On his part, Prof. Dantani Wushishi, Registrar of NECO said reports across the country indicated that the exams were smooth, orderly, and hitch-free.
Prof. Wushishi disclosed that 72,821 candidates registered for the 2023 National Common Entrance Examination, with Lagos State having the highest number of candidates, followed by FCT, while Kebbi is the lowest State with about 115 registered candidates.
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