By Muhammad Bashir Shuaib

The Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, gave the directive on Monday during a monitoring exercise of the ongoing 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Bwari, Federal Capital Territory.
He decried the activities of some parents pressuring their underage students to get admission into tertiary institutions.

The minister said the 18-year benchmark is in line with the 6-3-3-4 education system.

“The minimum age of entry into the university is 18, but we have seen students who are 15 or 16 years old going in for the entrance examination.

“Parents should be encouraged not to push their wards too much. Mostly, it is the pressure of parents that is causing this.
“We are going to look at this development because the candidates are too young to understand what the whole university education is all about,” he said.

On skills acquisition for those who cannot gain admission into tertiary institutions, Mr Mamman said the ministry is taking skills to pupils from primary school.

“Overall, it is 20 per cent that can be admitted into the university, polytechnic, and colleges of education systems.

“So, where will the 80 per cent go? That is why the issue of skill acquisition is very important.
“Any student who is unable to proceed to tertiary institutions should be able to have a meaningful life after primary and secondary school education, and the only solution to this is skill acquisition,” he said.
Corroborating the minister’s position on the benchmark of 18 years for admission to a tertiary institution, the JAMB spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, said 18 years is in line with 6-3-3-4 education.
The Minister of State for Education, Yusuf Sununu, who was on the monitoring team, applauded the conduct of the 2024 UTME, particularly the introduction of online examinations to check malpractices.

He said the computer-based test (CBT) had reduced examination malpractices to the barest minimum.
Mr Sununu commended the board for setting a simple but high standard for the examination.