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UTME: Nigeria To Set University Entry Age At 18 to Curb Underage Admissions




Joint Admission Matriculation Board

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, has expressed concerns over the increasing number of underage students gaining entry into universities, revealing plans to set the minimum entry age at 18 years. This initiative was announced during his monitoring of the ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Abuja.

“We noticed that the age of those who have applied to go to the university, some of them are really too young,” Prof. Mamman stated. He emphasized that the university environment requires a level of maturity that younger students might not possess, which is crucial for managing their affairs independently.

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.


The minister urged parents to allow their children to reach an appropriate maturity level before sending them off to university. He suggested that starting university at an earlier age could hinder the student’s ability to cope with the challenges and responsibilities of university life.

Additionally, Prof. Mamman praised the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for conducting a seamless examination process, attributing the reduction in examination malpractice to the adoption of advanced technology. “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.

Echoing his sentiments, Dr Tanko Sununu, the Minister of State for Education, also commended the standards set by JAMB during his visit to another examination centre. He was particularly impressed with the execution of the UTME, noting that the exam’s reliability and objectivity had led to 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.

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows.

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