The Nigerian Federal government said it has ban children below 11 years old from partaking in NCEE, commonly known as National Common Entrance Examination.
The new development is disclosed by David Adejo who is the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, while monitoring the 2023 examination alongside the registrar of the examination body, the National Examination Council (NECO), Ibrahim Wushishi.
He lamented the rate at which parents made their underage children sit the National Common Entrance Examination.
Adejo said: “We are killing our children by allowing underage children to participate in the Common Entrance Examination.
“In the cause of monitoring the exercise, I saw children that are not up to 10 years siting for the examination. In fact, three of them accepted that they are nine years old. We are teaching these children the wrong values. Education is not about passing examination. It’s about teaching, learning and character formation
“Parents should let these children do the examination when they should. We don’t get value by pushing these children too far. Most of the times if a child starts too early, he or she will have little 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, understand and process. We are moving from education that is reliant on reading textbooks and passing examination to 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 school, 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 examination, and we are going to ensure NECO put in place appropriate checks to ensure that underage children are not registered for the examination.
“We never wanted to get to where we demand for 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.”
NECO Registrar, Prof. Dantani Wushishi, confirmed to journalists that the conduct of the examination was generally smooth and orderly going by the feedback from across the country.
He confirmed that 72,821 candidates registered for for the 2023 National Common Entrance Examination, and that Lagos State had the highest number of enrollment followed by FCT, while the State with lowest registration, Kebbi, has about 115 registered candidates.
He promised that the Council will put in place mechanism to check some of the noticeable gaps caused by upsurge in registration a day to the examination.