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Stakeholders urge review of age peg for varsity admission

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Following the inability of 15-year-old Orisheneye David Okorogheye, who made A1 in all the nine subjects he wrote during the May/June 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE), to gain admission owing to his age, stakeholders have called for a re-appraisal of the rule that states “candidates must be 16 years of age before gaining entry into the country’s university system.”

Although the 16-year minimum age requirement for university admission has no legal backing, it has become the standard for some Nigerian universities, which had in their Post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) advertorial stated that “candidates, who will not be 16 years of age by October 31, 2018, are not eligible and need not apply.”

This, however, has dissuaded Okorogheye from applying to University of Lagos (UNILAG) despite scoring 332 in the 2018 UTME.

The unassuming lad, an indigene of Delta State from Warri North Local Council and old student of Starfields School, Iju, had wanted to study neurosurgeon at the university, but the caution on age-limit prevented him from pursuing his dream.

Starfields Director of Studies, Mr. Chris Eigbe, asserted that people like Okorogheye should be given a scholarship and rapid admission into the university, so as to achieve their dreams at young age.

Also, Vice Chancellor, Caleb University, Prof. Ayandiji Aina, who spoke with The Guardian, affirmed that children with exceptional performance should be given a waiver, as putting a stop in their career progression might not be good for the nation.

According to him: “I think the law in place states that you have to be 16 years before you are allowed entry into the university. But I think there should be an exception to every rule particularly for exceptionally brilliant students.”

However, Education Consultant, Mrs. Busola Adegbaju, was of the opinion that such a child is not totally matured and fit for tertiary education.

“The national curriculum and age-range should be followed as it is a yardstick for admission into any academic institution. At a certain age, a child is expected to exhibit some skills morally, intellectually, emotionally and socially. I can assure you that the standard of education should be maintained following the national curriculum that will produce a total child who will in turn face future challenges that may not be academic related,” she said.


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