Senate: No Change In 16-Year Age Requirement For Tertiary Institution Admissions

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Says Comments on Increasing Age Limit for University Admissions Are Personal Opinions

The Senate has assured Nigerians that the 16-year age requirement for applicants seeking admissions to tertiary institutions in the country has not been changed.

The red chamber insisted that the comments about increasing the age limit to 18 years were personal opinions.

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The upper chamber clarified that any downward or upward review of the age limit could only be done by legislation that followed due process.

 

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The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Adeyemi Adaramodu, gave the explanation in an interview with journalists yesterday.

 

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The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, had last week disclosed that the federal government planned to review and peg the minimum entry age into tertiary institutions in the country at 18 years.

 

The minister gave the hint while monitoring the ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Abuja.

 

He had advised parents against pushing their children and wards “too much,” to allow them to attain some level of maturity to be able to better manage their affairs.

 

He had said, “The other thing which we notice is the age of those who have applied to go to the university.

 

“Some of them are really too young. We are going to look at it because they are too young to understand what a university education is all about.

 

“That’s the stage when students migrate from a controlled environment where they are in charge of their own 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. Eighteen 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,” he had said.

 

Members of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) also on Tuesday last week, declared their support for the move by the federal government to peg the minimum entry age into tertiary institutions in the country at 18 years.

 

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund, Senator Muntari Dandutse, spoke when he led other members of the committee as well as its House of Representatives counterpart on monitoring the ongoing UTME in some examination centres as the lawmakers’ oversight function.

 

Dandutse said the Senate would support every effort by the government to streamline admission processes, especially the area of minimum age qualification for entry into tertiary institutions in the country.

 

However, the Senate through its spokesperson declared that nothing would be done on the minimum age requirement into tertiary institutions until all the stakeholders in the education sector endorse it.

Adaramodu stressed that, “comment on the minimum age requirement for admission is not a law. So it is just an opinion. It’s not a law. By the time the Senate resumes, whoever wants to bring that one out to make it a law, will now bring it and then the procedures will take place.

 

“You can bring whatever to the floor in form of a bill. When you bring it, there’s going to be public hearing.

 

“All the stakeholders will sit down and talk about it. The parents, teachers, legislators, civil society organisations, even foreign organisations.

 

“We will sit down and we talk. Even if they say that the minimum age should be 30 or 12 we will all discuss it at an open forum. So it’s still a comment which cannot be taken to be the law.”

 

The Senate spokesperson dismissed insinuations that the Minister of Education had instructed the leadership of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board not to release results of applicants below 18 years.

 

He said, “There is nothing like that. When the prospective student bought their forms, there were no such conditions.

 

“So when you have bought your forms under one condition, that condition cannot be initiated along the line until the current set of candidates have been successfully attended to.

 

“When the next engagement is to take place, then if it is brought even as an executive bill or personal or private bill or the public brings it as a bill, then the National Assembly will now sit down and then allow it to go to the crucible of lawmaking.

 

“This is a country, this is Nigeria. So all of us will sit down and deliberate.

 

“So, so far it is just a mere comment, it’s just an opinion. It is not law yet. So once something is not law, then there’s the level of jaw jaw that we can do. It’s not.”

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