By Evelyn Terseer, Abuja
The Federal Government has banned underage children from participating in the National Common Entrance Examination for admission into the Unity Schools across the country.
Government has directed the National Examination Council (NECO) to put in place relevant measures to prevent the underage persons from registering for the examination, including making birth certificate compulsory as registration requirement.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr David Andrew Adejo, gave the directive on Saturday in Abuja while monitoring the conduct of the 2023 Common Entrance Examination into the 110 Federal Government Colleges across the Federation.
A total of 72,821 candidates sat for the examination on Saturday nationwide.
Adejo noted that to get into secondary, a candidate should be at least 12 years, adding that one could be eleven plus during the examination and by September, such a person would have attained the age of 12 years.
The Permanent Secretary after monitoring the exercise at the Federal Government Girls College, Bwari, and Government Day Secondary School, Bwari, said he was unhappy to see many underage person taking the examination.
He insisted that less than eleven years was unacceptable, disclosing that Airforce School, among others do not accept candidates less than twelve years for admission into their schools.
Adejo said: “This year, I have advice for parents and I beg you, take this advice to any single home you know. We are killing our children by allowing underage children to write the Common Entrance Examination.
“I saw children that I know that are not up to 10, and three of them accepted that they are nine years old. We are doing many things; one, we are teaching the children the wrong values. Education is not about passing exams. Education is teaching, learning and character formation
“I beg the parents, let these children do the exams when they should. We don’t get value by pushing your child too far. Most of the times if a child starts too early, he or she will have 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 and understand and be able to use. We are moving from education that is reliant on reading textbooks and passing exams.
“We are getting to a stage 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, 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 exam and we are going to make sure NECO put in place appropriate checks. We didn’t want to get to where we will say bring 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,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary also noted that the efforts of the Federal Government and other stakeholders in encouraging girls education is yielding fruit, saying the number of girls that registered for the Common Entrance Examination this year is 38,000 far above the previous years.
According to the Registrar of NECO, Professor Dantani Wushishi, the conduct of the examination was generally smooth and orderly, saying from the reports gotten from across the country, the examination went on hitch-free.
While confirming that 72,821 candidates registered for for the 2023 National Common Entrance Examination, Wushishi disclosed 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 noted that the Council would put in place mechanism to check some of the noticeable gaps caused by upsurge in registration a day to the examination.
FG Appeals for Calm over Tuition as Varsities Resume
Minister of State for education, Hon. Dr. Tanko Yusuf Sununu has appealed to students, parents and lecturers in our Institutions of higher learning to shun acts capable of disrupting the academic session as schools get set for resumption.
Dr. Sununu who made the appeal ahead of the resumption of academic activities in tertiary institutions said the show of restraint is in the interest of all stakeholders, and system stability.
The Minister was speaking to newsmen when the leadership of the congress of university Academics paid him a courtesy call.
The Minister noted that his Ministry is having constructive dialogue and consultation with stakeholders over the welfare of students, staff as well as the provision of infrastructure in tertiary institutions.
Acknowledging that strikes and non-use of facilities could lead to rapid infrastructural decay, the Minister promised that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will do everything humanly possible to avoid any situation that could lead to strikes.
Speaking earlier, the President of the Congress of University Academics, comrade Niyi Sunmonu alerted the Minister, that there is the likelihood of students unrest occasioned by the new increase in school fees, which he said has the potential of disrupting academic activities and the school calendar.
The union also appealed to government to look into ways of improving the condition of service of academic and non-academic staff of universities, which he said has deteriorated due to the fuel subsidy removal.
The union reasoned that there was need to revisit the issue of the 8-months salary arrears that arose from the last strike by the academic staff union of universities (ASUU), arguing that members of the Congress of University Academics did not go on strike.
It must be noted however, that all academic activities in universities were grounded throughout the period of the strik
Research tool to improve life expectancy — VC
Prof. Olumuyiwa Odusanya, the Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University of Science and Technology (LASUSTECH), Ikorodu, says research remains a veritable tool for strengthening the healthcare system.
He made the assertion at the 41st Convocation Lecture of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, Ijanikin, Lagos State, on Thursday.
The convocation lecture was entitled, “Towards Better and Longer Lives for All Nigerians: Challenges and Solutions”.
Odusanya was the lecturer.
He said that research would improve and strengthen the quality of life and life expectancy of people.
He said that the medical college should be at the cutting edge of translational and person-specific research.
According to him, the burden of non-communicable diseases is increasing, thereby demanding implementation of well-known primary preventive measures as the long-term solution.
“As the interaction of living organisms on the planet becomes more complex, coupled with climate change, we can expect more uncertainties, pandemics and new diseases with threats of livelihood, longevity and quality of life.
“Thus, our research must be forward-looking at developing new diagnostic tools, drugs and vaccines, particularly preventive vaccines against cancers and other disease such as diabetes,” he said.
The vice-chancellor said that it was appropriate to focus on molecular research and multi-disciplinary efforts that would solve priority problem of Nigeria and the African continent.
“We must be more involved in social research and equip our trainees with the skills needed to work in multi-disciplinary teams.
“There is the urgent need to make research findings easy to understand and actionable, by governments.
“We must be specific and intentional in our research to raise life expectancy and improve quality of life.
“This way, we do more around the social determinants of health and interrogate the effect of government policies on the lives of people,” he said.
Odusanya said the target of governments and stakeholders in health services to make people to enjoy better quality of life and live longer was achievable.
According to him, improving the quality life includes promoting sound mental health and the starting point is provision of adequate security in all its forms.
He said that African countries still lagged beehind in life expectancy largely due to poor improvements in healthcare, science, nutrition, education, water supply and cleaner environments.
“Nigeria ranked seventh in life expectancy in the West African region,” the vice-chancellor said.
He said that Nigerians should take responsibility in prolonging their lives through adopting healthy lifestyles such as elimination of cigarettes smoking, reduction of alcohol intake and salt intake as well as ensuring regular exercise.
University of Ilorin only institution in Africa to house Digisonde – VC
Prof. Wahab Egbewole, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin (Unilirin), has disclosed that the university is the only institution in Africa to house a Digisonde.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Digisondes are special radar for the examination of the ionosphere. They use pulsed signal that can gather more radar information than a traditional ionosonde sweep.
Egbewole stated this in Ilorin during a meeting with experts on Ionospheric and Space Weather Research, who visited him in his office.
The experts were in Ilorin for the 7th edition of the International Colloquium on Equatorial and Low Latitude Ionosphere (ICELLI) hosted by the Department of Physics at Unilorin.
The vice chancellor, who expressed his delight at hosting scientists specialising in Ionospheric and Space Weather Research at the University, highlighted the significance of this remote sensing device.
He explained that the device studies ionospheric variations and provides essential data for research in ionospheric and space weather Physics.
Egbewole encouraged the experts to consider linking any data collected during the programme to the university, stressing that this request is essential for evaluating the institution’s impact in various research areas.
“The fact that experts are willing to travel from France, Italy, Norway and Egypt to our campus is highly significant to us because it shows your recognition of our contributions to your endeavours.
“We hope that the outcomes of your engagement on our campus also positively influence the research projects we undertake and potentially attract more grants to our University,” he said.
Egbewole also called for greater collaboration among scientists worldwide in areas of expertise that can contribute to global sustainability.
He said: “As a University, we uphold our core values. The steadfast integrity with which we have overseen the repository observatory for over 30 years serves as evidence that we contribute value to your collaboration”.
According to him, the institution’s research endeavours are advancing more rapidly than in most other institutions.
The Vvice chancellor advocated for enhanced engagement and collaborations between the Unilorin and researchers worldwide.
Earlier, Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, the Executive Director, UN-African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in English domicited at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, disclosed that the varsity was considered the host of the programme because it is the only institution that is hosting a functional Digisonde in sub Saharan Africa.
Rabiu, who is an alumnus of Unilorin, said the institution is well known for ionospheric research.
He added that the Digisonde in Kenya was just installed and it is less than three months and there is no historical data there yet.
Also speaking, Prof. Abdullahi Alafara, the Dean, Faculty of Physical Sciences, Unilorin, said the 2023 edition of ICELLI held at the university would be of assistance to the Ionospheric and Space Weather Research team of the Department of Physics in data gathering and applications.
The dean added that the only Digisonde in the West Africa sub-region is domiciled at the Department of Physics, Faculty of Physical Sciences, at the instance of the United States Air Force and Lowell Digisonde.
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