The Federal Government has banned underage children from taking the National General Entrance Examination for admission to uniform schools across the country.
The directive was released in a statement by the Permanent Secretary, Department of Education, David Andrew Adejo, on Saturday in Abuja while overseeing the conduct of the 2023 Joint Entrance Examination into 110 Government Colleges Confederation throughout the Union.
The ministry has directed the National Examinations Council (NECO) to adopt strict measures to prevent children under 11 years of age from registering for the exam, including the mandatory requirement of a birth certificate upon registration.
A total of 72,821 candidates took the test on Saturday across the country.
Adejo emphasized that being under eleven is unacceptable, revealing that the Air Force School, among others, does not accept applicants under the age of twelve for admission to their school.
“This year, I have advice for parents and I beg of you, take this advice to any single home you know of. We are killing our children by allowing underage children to write the Common Entrance Test.
“I see kids I know who are less than 10 years old, and three of them accept that they are 9 years old. We are doing many things; First, we are teaching our kids false values. Education is not about passing exams. Education is teaching, learning and character formation.
“I beg parents, let these kids take the test when they should. We don’t get value by pushing your child too far. Most if a child starts too early, they will have many problems later in life.
“Education is designed in such a way that at any particular stage in life, there are messages that your brain can take in, understand and can use. We are moving away from an education based on reading textbooks and passing exams.
“We are getting to the point where education is something where you can use your knowledge to do something for society. You put a kid through all the harsh challenges, when he finishes middle school, going to college becomes a problem. I had that experience with a friend. Up until now, that friend has not been admitted to a university, simply because she was admitted to the school earlier than the age at which she should have been admitted.
“Let our kids come of age before writing this test and we will make sure NECO does the right tests. We don’t want to go to the place where we will say bring the birth certificate but that is the stage we will get to now. When registering also uploads the child’s birth certificate, so that at the end we can cut some of this down.”
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