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Some UTME candidates are too young, 18 is entry age for varsity -Minister

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, on Monday says 18 is the entry age for admission into universities and other tertiary institutions of learning.

The minister stated this during the monitoring exercise of the ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Abuja on Monday [today].

Mamman said, “The other thing which we notice is the age of those who have applied to go to the university. Some of them are too young. We are going to look at it because they are too young to understand what university education is all about.

“That’s the stage when students migrate from a controlled environment where they are in charge of their affairs. So, if they are too young, they won’t be able to manage properly. That accounts for some of the problems we are seeing in the universities.

“We are going to look at that. 18 is the entry age for university, but you will see students, 15, and 16, going to the examination. It is not good for us. Parents should be encouraged not to push their wards, or children too much.”

Commenting on the high number of candidates seeking admission into the limited slots available in tertiary institutions, Mamman said skills acquisition remains a critical component in preparing youths for the future.

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“It is not a question of being employed but how many will be admitted from this set. I think the figure overall on average is about 20 per cent; universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.

“The question you ask is where are the 80 percent? They are our children, our wards living with us. This is why the issue of skills acquisition is important because any student who is not able to proceed to tertiary education should be able to have a meaningful life even after secondary school, even primary education.

“The only solution to that is skills; by taking skills right from the time they entered school, for the primary right through the educational trajectory. Somebody should finish with one skill or another. That is part of the assumption of the 6-3-3-4.

“It is assumed that by the time a student finishes up to the JSS level, he will have acquired some skills. If he does not proceed to the senior secondary level, he will have acquired some skills that will help him navigate life and cease to be a burden on his parents and society.

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“That’s why this skill is just the most important skill for us now that we are going to drive through the education sector for both public and private sector to empower the young ones.”

Bridget Benson
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