18 years tertiary education admission age limit: WAEC, JAMB, NECO shouldn’t register underaged again for exams — NPTAN


The National Parent- Teacher Association of Nigeria (NPTAN) has expressed support for the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman’s recent pronouncement to peg the tertiary education admission age limit in Nigeria to 18 years instead of the current 16 years.

The national president of NPTAN, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, expressed his backing on this on Wednesday during an exclusive interview with Nigerian Tribune.

He, however, urged the Federal Government to co-opt the three major examining bodies in the country, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), and the National Examination Council (NECO) to make the proposal a policy that would work effectively.

He said the three examination bodies have significant roles to play on the matter.

He said parents, who rush their children’s education are mostly the rich and the educated ones, who can afford to send their children to private schools which usually admit underaged children without considering their emotional maturity.

Danjuma explained that for the minister of education to have aired his view again about the 18 years age limit for tertiary education admission is a way of reminding parents of the risk to rushing their children’s education.

He said the Federal Government should in that case, compel WAEC, NECO and JAMB to henceforth register only students, who are in the appropriate class and have attained the ages required for the examinations they are conducting.

He said, based on the national policy on education, each examination targets certain students at a specific level of education.

He said, for example, “NECO and the state government examination boards which conduct common entrance examinations into Federal Government colleges and other secondary schools for primary six pupils as applicable should no longer register pupils below 11 years and they must not be in terminal class and likewise, WAEC and NECO should not also register students who are below 17 years or in SSS3 class for the senior school exams.

Similarly, he suggested further that JAMB should not also register/allow students below 17 years to sit for its Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

He pointed out that children need to be six-year-old to start primary school education and spend another six years before going to secondary school, where they will spend additional six years to reach age 18 to become fully matured to go to tertiary institutions where they are expected to live independently.

While noting that all these examining bodies usually request for ages of candidates during registration, Danjuma wondered why such a request should be a mere request rather than to be a gatekeeper to block underaged registration.

He said once the underaged were not able to scale through those stages of examinations right from primary, secondary and then to the UTME level, it would be difficult for them to secure admission into universities, be it public or private.

He added that JAMB as a clearing house for university admissions in the country for example had greater opportunity to block any underaged from sitting for its examination or issuing an admission letter.

He said the money these various examination bodies are making from their candidates through registration could be largely responsible for them not to bother to block the underaged sitting for their examinations.

He said the supply of candidates’ National Identity Numbers (NINs) as part of their registration alone is enough to aid the implementation successfully.

Danjuma, therefore, emphasised that the bulk of the work is more on the hands of the government and the various examining bodies and lesser on the parents.

He stressed that it is the government and its agencies that will implement such policy and not the parents.

He, therefore, urged the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, to without delay work the talk by tabling the matter with appropriate quarters to make it become a national policy and not a mere political statement.

Meanwhile, the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNUs) says it can’t react on the matter now.

The secretary general of the committee, Professor Yakubu Ochefu, gave this position on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Nigerian Tribune when he was asked for the committee’s reaction to the subject.

He said: “The committee has not discussed this matter you raised.

“There is no official communication from the ministry of education yet; when there is, we shall review it and make an appropriate response.”