NEWS

16 Years Age For University Admission Hasn’t Changed- Senate

He highlighted that recent remarks attributing an increase to 18 years as the new minimum age are the personal opinion of a Senator and not an official decision.

By Musa Ibrahim

The Senate has clarified that there have been no changes to the 16-year age requirement for admission into the nation’s tertiary institutions. Adeyemi Adaramodu, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, emphasized this stance during an interview in Abuja.

He highlighted that recent remarks attributing an increase to 18 years as the new minimum age are the personal opinion of a Senator and not an official decision. Adaramodu reiterated that any alteration to existing laws must undergo the legislative process to be valid.

This clarification follows the proposal by the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, to raise the admission requirement age from 16 to 18 years, announced during his visit to UTME centres in Abuja last week.

He 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.

Mamman  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.

Last week, members of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) voiced their endorsement of the federal government’s initiative.

Senator Muntari Dandutse, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund, expressed this support while leading the committee members, along with their counterparts from the House of Representatives, in monitoring the ongoing UTME at various examination centers as part of their oversight responsibilities.

However, the Senate Spokesman while explaining the red chamber’s position on the issue said, “comments on the minimum age requirement for admission is not a law.

“So, it is just an opinion. It’s not a law. Now that the Senate has resumed, 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.”

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