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Nigerian students under 18 shouldn't be in university — minister warns parents

The minister added that the 18-year benchmark is in line with the 6-3-3-4 system of education.

JAMB agrees that the 18-year benchmark is in line with Nigeria's 6-3-3-4 system of education [TGNG]

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman gave the directive on Monday during a monitoring exercise of the ongoing 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Bwari, Federal Capital Territory.

He decried the activities of some parent, who were pressuring their underage students to get admission into tertiary institutions. The minister said that the 18-year benchmark is in line with the 6-3-3-4 system of education.

“The minimum age of entry into the University is 18, but we have seen students who are 15, and 16 years going in for the entrance examination.

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“Parents should be encouraged not to push their wards too much. Mostly, it is the pressure of parents that is causing this.

“We are going to look at this development because the candidates are too young to understand what the whole university education is all about.

“This is the period when children migrate from a controlled to an uncontrolled environment; when they are in charge of their affairs.

“But, if they are too young, they won’t be able to manage properly. I think that is part of what we are seeing in the Universities today,” he said.

On skill acquisition for those who will not be able to gain admission into tertiary institutions, Mamman said the ministry is taking skills to pupils from primary school.

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“In overall, it is 20% that can be admitted into the University, Polytechnic and Colleges of Education system.

“So, where will the 80% go to? That is why the issue of skills acquisition is very important.

“Any student who is unable to proceed to tertiary institutions should be able to have a meaningful life after primary and secondary school’s education and the only solution to this is skill acquisition,” he stated.

Corroborating the minister’s position on the benchmark of 18 years for admission to tertiary institution, the JAMB spokesperson, Dr Fabian Benjamin said 18 years is in line with the 6-3-3-4 education system.

The Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu who was in the monitoring team applauded the conduct of the 2024 UTME, particularly, the introduction of online examinations as a way of checking malpractices.

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He said the Computer Based Test (CBT) had reduced examination malpractices to the barest minimum. Sununu commended the Board for setting a simple but high standard for the examination.

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