David Adejo, the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, expressed concern about the frequency with which parents are having their children below 11 years take the National Common Entrance Examination.
Adejo, who was observing the 2023 examination together with Ibrahim Wushishi, the registrar of the National Examination Council (NECO), urged parents to ensure their children reach the appropriate age before attempting this examination.
He emphasized the need for NECO to implement proper safeguards.
Adejo confirmed that some underage children had indeed taken the 2023 examination, which he deemed detrimental to their development.
He stressed that education should not solely revolve around passing exams and advised that children should meet the appropriate age requirements before attempting the entrance examination.
Furthermore, Adejo highlighted the importance of presenting birth certificates during registration to curb such misconduct.
He firmly stated that children should be a minimum of 12 years old to enter secondary school and that those under 11 years old would not be accepted.
Adejo mentioned that due to oversubscription, two candidates were assigned the same question papers during the 2023 exercise, and he assured that this would no longer be tolerated.
He pointed out that although sufficient resources were provided for every registered child, the late influx of registrations caused inadequate arrangements.
Adejo also acknowledged the success of the campaign to increase female enrollment in schools, as over 38,000 girls participated in the 2023 examination out of a total of 72,881 registered candidates.
In his remarks, Wushishi noted the increased number of candidates registered by states in northern Nigeria, which he considered an improvement compared to previous years.