The Federal Government has banned underage children from participating in the National Common Entrance Examination conducted by the National Examination Council (NECO) for admission into unity colleges across the country.
The government directed NECO to put strict measures in place to prevent underage persons from registering for the examination, including making birth certificates compulsory as registration requirement.
It noted that to get into secondary school, a candidate should be at least 12 years old, adding that a pupil could be eleven plus during the examination and by September, such a person would have attained the age of 12.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, David Adejo, gave the directive on Saturday 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.
The Permanent Secretary, after monitoring the exercise at the Federal Government Girls College, Bwari, and Government Day Secondary School, Bwari, said he was unhappy to see many underage persons taking the examination.
He insisted that registering candidates less than 11 years was unacceptable, disclosing that Airforce School, among others, does not accept candidates less than 12 years for admission into their schools.
Adejo 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.”