Mixed Reactions Over University Admission Age Limit – Features – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigerian and World News | Tech US News


At the age of 15, Tochukwu Nwafor had already completed secondary school. He was as tall as a 16 year old. After successfully performing in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), the sky was his limit. His parents’ faces were beaming with pride and fulfillment – ​​that their beloved son was likely to complete his first degree by the age of 19, but the university would not accept Nwafor because of his age.

Elsewhere in the South West, Mrs. Adepeja cursed Oriola under her breath when she said, “My daughter is 15 years old and they said she has to wait another year to enroll in university. What kind of system is this?

“Is it a crime to be brilliant and ready for admission at 15? What happens if we catch them young? And we say that young people are the leaders of tomorrow?”

Faith Oyende, a top science student at the Lagos State University (LASU), further illustrates the anger of those denied admission by Nigerian universities because of their age. Young Oyende was twice denied admission to university because he was not yet 16 years old. She finally graduated at the age of 21, majoring in Biochemistry and graduating with a 4.68 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).

When asked about her story, she said, “It’s a long story. I actually wanted to become a doctor. However, I was denied admission into the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and LASU because I was not yet 16 years old. After finishing high school at the age of 15, I wrote and passed the common matriculation entrance exam. But during the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), I was told that I had to turn 16 before I could be admitted.”

Alarmed by this development, a group of concerned parents, under the auspices of the Campaign Against Injustice, challenged the decision which sets the age limit for admission to tertiary institutions at 16.

The parents claimed that it was a retrogressive measure by the institutions that a person under the age of 16 could not become a student.

The issue of age limit for admission candidates resurfaced recently when 15-year-old Sylvester Opara scored A1 in all his subjects but could not be admitted to the university.

Although the requirement of an age limit of 16 for university admission has no legal basis, it has become the standard for universities in Nigeria, which state in their advertisement for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) that “candidates who are not 16 years of age are not eligible and they do not need to register.

The estimated population of Nigeria is about 200 million, according to the United Nations, with an average age of 17.9 years. This is mostly a young population, 42.54 percent between the ages of one and 14. The country also has a very high dependency ratio, namely 88.2 dependents to one non-dependent. Based on these statistics, some parents and stakeholders have argued that the continued implementation of the age-restriction policy is limiting productivity.

The Coordinator of the Campaign Against Injustice, Mrs Oladunni Babalola, said more and more vibrant children are completing primary and secondary education earlier than ever imagined and universities are driving them away with the assumption that they must be 16 before they can become Federal Government no should wait until many children become discouraged.

Babalola said children with exceptional performance should be given a waiver. According to her, using age limit to stop the academic momentum for now might not be good for the nation and individuals.

She said: “I think the current legislation says you have to be 16 before you’re allowed to go to university. But I think there has to be an exception to every rule, especially for extremely brilliant students.

Babalola urged the government to avoid wasting the time and brains of the young, vibrant and learned youth.

Another parent, Sarah Davies, warned that Nigeria could lose its best brains this way.

“That is why such children will leave the country and never come back. Who says 15 is too young? Go and google the youngest math professor in the world, he became a professor at 17,” she said.

However, education consultant Ayomide Tosu thinks otherwise. She said: “The National Curriculum and the age group should be taken into account as this is the criteria for admission to any academic institution. At a certain age, a child is expected to demonstrate certain moral, intellectual, emotional and social skills. I can assure you that strict adherence to the National Curriculum will create a well-rounded child who will face future challenges that may not be related to learning.”

Tolu Arobieke, a careers guidance counselor, said 16 is still a reasonable age for a student to enter university. Arobieke, however, lamented that some parents and institutions have misused the policy.

“Globalization has made students very smart about learning, both because of the introduction of advanced learning aids and the Internet. But it is not always advisable to allow students under the age of 18 to enter universities, as most of them have low IQ and cannot meet the demands of society,” she said.

Arobieke further argued, “Admitting students below the approved age could also lead to stress and mental instability. Some of these students are simply not up to the multitasking demands of college life. We saw a case at the University of Lagos where a student went mad because his mental faculties were not able to assimilate what he was learning and get used to the way of life at the university.”

Professor of adult education, prof. Adeola Olami, I would rather accuse the elites of abusing the age limit in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions with their financial power. Olamiju claimed that 60 per cent of students below a certain age limit in various schools are children of the rich whose parents could afford to encourage them in schools to obtain degrees at a tender age.

“But one thing they don’t understand is that these kids are barely mature for some of the stages they find themselves in. However, the quick learners among them are easily assimilated in terms of academics, while some of them are simply frivolous and end up being a nuisance. Still, he admitted to Olami, “It’s a good thing that some of these students end up realizing their life ambitions in time, while their parents also put off the burden of financing their education quite early in life.”

dr. Uduak Etim, Head and Counselor at Ebonyi State University, said it is not ideal for a student to go to university under the age of 16. “If you talk about gifted children, how many are there in the class? Whoever argued must be an expert in sociology and psychology.

“It is not ideal for any child under 16 to go to university. Even those in university are only there to please their parents. Not encouraging. It hurts me when I see a child who is not even a year old, but they are already driving him to school. It is wrong; the child should first be educated at home.

“When you rush a child too soon, the child rushes off too soon without learning. Parents should devote more time to their children. If a child goes to school at the age of eight, you will notice that he will be more mature than his other mates who may be six or seven years old in the same class,” said Etim.

An education consultant, Ololade Junaid, said some parents are too impatient to allow their wards to mature before enrolling in university.

“In the United States, you graduate from high school at 18. Not at 15 like we have in Nigeria… Later we will wonder why we fell behind,” she said.

Junaid advised the parents of under-age graduates to allow them to learn other skills before enrolling in university.

“My advice is if your child falls below the age limit for admission to a tertiary institution in Nigeria, that child can have a gap year to explore by acquiring skills and learning languages ​​– foreign and local. Life is not going to end if they go to university at 16 or 20,” she said.

In Western countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, entry to compulsory schooling is five. In both countries, the age for entering university is usually 18. However, juniors were also admitted on the basis of outstanding performance.

Nigerian British math prodigy, Esther Okade, is one of the child prodigies who entered university at the age of 10. She enrolled at the Open University in the UK.

Another lecturer, Anselm Okorie, argued that there should be no age limit in education. “I don’t think it’s necessary; anyone can take over at any time; People get education at different times, so there should be no age limit for education,” he said.

Meanwhile, the jury is still out on whether or not to limit the age of applicants to university. Stakeholders, however, called on the federal and state governments to return the nation’s tertiary education system to its glory days. With the implicit trust that the four-year program will run as such, many parents may not be eager to push their children through the ivory tower before the approved deadlines.


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