Lawmakers propose 18 as eligibility age for UTME candidates

The Senate has commenced the process of amending the Establishment Act of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) with particular interest on age of candidates participating in Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

The lawmakers proposed 18 years in the new Act for any candidate that would take UTME, as against the current minimum of 16 years.

Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Basic Education, Akon Eyakenyi, disclosed this when she led other committee members on oversight visit to JAMB headquarters in Abuja, yesterday. She said the committee came to the resolution that candidates should neither sit nor be admitted into university below the age of 18, as age had a lot to do with learning ability.

“We have the responsibilities of making laws and legislate. We have identified two major areas that we need to go into the process of amending the act establishing JAMB. That’s the area of support we will give,” she said.

Eyakenyi said education was important to the development and future of Nigeria and that the sector deserves maximum attention as quality education could  only be achieved through proper funding of the sector and commitment of teachers and students.

While describing JAMB as a bridge between secondary and tertiary institutions, Eyakenyi said the agency was a necessary vehicle for the delivery of quality and standard education in Nigeria.

Senator Eyakenyi commended JAMB board for the smooth conduct of the 2021 UTME. She described JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, as a round peg in a round hole, who knew his job.

Oloyede in his response  told the committee that the Board does not have powers to disqualify any candidate on the basis of age, shifting the responsibility to individual institutions.

“Individual institutions can decide on who to admit or not based on age, or any other criteria. It is the case with University of Ibadan which does not admit candidates below 16 years,” he said.

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