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UTME: Education Minister Plans Minimum Entry Age of 18 for Nigeria University Admission

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, has raised concerns regarding the growing number of underage students gaining admission into universities, signaling plans to establish a minimum entry age of 18 years.
This initiative was revealed during his oversight of the ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Abuja.
Prof. Mamman highlighted the challenges younger students face in adapting to the university lifestyle, which can significantly affect their academic and social life. “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,” he explained.
He noted that starting university at a younger age could hinder students’ ability to effectively manage their affairs, contributing to the problems observed in universities.
Prof. Mamman urged parents to consider the maturity level of their children before sending them off to university, emphasizing the significance of allowing students to reach an appropriate age before pursuing higher education.
In addition to addressing age-related concerns, the minister commended the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for its efforts in conducting a seamless examination process.
“Right from screening to those who are here, the examination process is seamless. The environment is comfortable for students. That’s how it should be, especially the use of technology in our affairs and the educational system. It makes life easy for everybody and seamless,” he remarked.
He attributed the reduction in examination malpractice to the adoption of advanced technology, praising the efficiency and comfort provided to students during the examination.
Echoing Prof. Mamman’s sentiments, Dr. Tanko Sununu, the Minister of State for Education, also lauded the standards set by JAMB during his visit to another examination center.
Dr. Sununu expressed admiration for the reliability and objectivity of the UTME, noting its administration beyond Nigeria, including in Saudi Arabia.
“The standard of the exam is commendable. I am not surprised that JAMB has to go outside Nigeria to conduct exams. They are in Saudi Arabia and right now the exam is also going on in Saudi Arabia. I have not heard people complaining of answers leaked, it shows that with online exams we can do a lot,” Dr. Sununu noted.
He emphasized the potential of online exams to enhance the integrity and accessibility of examinations.
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