Mixed reaction over age limit for entering universities - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Mixed reaction over age limit for entering universities

The comment by the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, that the entry age to universities and other higher institutions should be 18 years has generated mixed reactions from stakeholders in the education sector. 

While some parents are of the view that the 16 years entry age allowed by most higher institutions is okay, some are of the view that there is no need rushing children who are not emotionally mature to go for higher education.

The National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said the comment by the minister is in order.

"What is the entry age into primary school? It is six years. So, if a child starts primary school at six and does six years of primary education, he will be 12 before going to secondary school where he will do another six years of schooling. By the time he leaves secondary school, he will be 18 and he can go to the university. He should be emotionally mature by that time I believe.

" That was what we met and what the policy was until the private sector took over primary and secondary school education sector. Now, you have a child who is about nine years starting secondary school. And they would rush him to the point that by 14 he has left secondary school and would be seeking admission to a university. Why the rush?

"As a person and a lecturer who has seen a lot of things in the system, I throw my weight behind the minister. These toddlers they are sending to universities are not emotionally mature and you find a lot of them in our private universities. People that are not ready for the rushed adult life could end up badly and be negatively influenced," he said.

Commenting  on the issue, Ebeleme Jeremiah, the Project Manager of Sparkle Foundation, said 18 years is ideal to enter into the university. 
She said, "I think it is okay to be 18 years before one enters the university. It will help us have more children who are mentally ready and reduce parents' pressure on the children. "

However, a Lagos-based media professional, Ben Ugbana, noted that 16 years being the age accepted by some schools was the best age to enter the university. 
He said, "The 16 years age limit being used by UNILAG over the years remains the best, in my opinion."

Similarly, a public secondary school teacher, based in Kwara State, Mr Ademitunji Afolabimi, explained that 18 years has always been the benchmark, but the challenge has been in the implementation. 
He said, "I think it has always been there, Nigerian parents were only reminded that this is the law. We have shouted it many times but nobody is listening."

Recall that because of the desire of some parents to rush their children through secondary education, the Lagos State government and even the federal government have set 11 years as the minimum age a child can take entrance examination into their secondary schools.

However, some parents still try to breach the rule by falsifying the ages of their children and swearing affidavits to that effect.

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