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Stakeholders differ on age limit for university admission



University of Nigeria, Nsukka

The 16-year minimum age for university admission in Nigeria has no legal backing, but it has become more or less the norm, as far as varsity admission is concerned, even though a few schools break away from the norm to admit kids as young as 14 and 15.

Specifically, schools like the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) are much more direct in their position as it maintains that, “No person under the age of 16 years may be admitted to the university as a student.”

However, some respondents, who spoke to The Guardian on the issue of age limit for varsity admission, were of the view that admitting students below the age of 18 has its merit and demerits.

For Career Guidance Counselor, Mr. Dada Olarenwaju, the dynamic nature of contemporary society and the attendant globalisation were some of the factors responsible for the diverse changes witnessed along this line.

Maintaining that 16 years of age was still a reasonable age for a student to commence his/her sojourn in a tertiary institution, he, however, regretted that some parents and institutions have thoroughly abused that gesture.“Globalisation has made students very smart in learning, due to the introduction of advanced learning gadgets, as well as the Internet.

But it is not always advisable to allow students below the age of 18 into the universities owing to the fact that, most of them possess low Intelligent Quotient (IQ) and cannot meet up with the demands of the society,” Olarenwaju stated.
“Admitting students below the approved age could also lead to stress and mental instability. Some of these students are just not equal to the multi-tasking nature of life in higher institutions. We have seen a case at the University of Lagos where a student went berserk because his mental capacity was incapable of assimilating what he was learning, and getting used to the way of life in the university.”

For the Principal, Ifelodun Comprehensive High School, Lagos, Mr. Adewunmi Peter, the “abuse” of age limit in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions was more prevalent among the elites, whom he said were used to always having their way through the private schools, because of their financial muscle.

He claimed that 60 per cent of students below the stipulated age limit in different schools were children of the rich, whose parents could afford to spirit them through schools to acquire degrees at whatever age, and get on with their lives.

However, one thing they fail to understand is that these children are barely matured for some of the stages they find themselves. Nonetheless, the fast learners among them assimilate easily in terms of academics, while some of them are just unserious and end up becoming a bunch of nuisance,” he stated.

The good thing is that some of these students end up achieving their life’s ambition in good time, while their parents also put off the burden of funding their education quite early in life.

In the view a parent, Mr. Haruna Adeyemo, parents have various reasons why they allow their children get into higher institution despite being seemingly underage.
“For me, it is not always advisable to let a child under the age of 18 to get into the university even though as a parent, I want the best for my children. Most parents really want their children to get done with education early in life, get a job where available and get married in time as well.”

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