A TOTAL of 92,591 candidates across the country on Saturday sat for the National Common Entrance Examination conducted by the National Examination Council (NECO) but only30,000 candidates would be admitted due to carrying capacity of the schools.
Sonny Echono, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education disclosed in Abuja this while monitoring the conduct of the examination which held in over 600 centres across the nation.
The entrance examination would enable the candidates to gain admission into the 104 Federal Government Colleges also known as Unity Schools.
“We used to hover around 25,000 but we have the new additions, we are talking about almost one in three of those who are applying that will get space because we are talking of about 92,000 and 30,000 carrying capacity. The ratio is about one in three for this year,” Echono said.
He added that there has been an increase in the number of candidates sitting for the National Common Entrance examination.
According to him, the increase in the number of applicants was due to the ‘modest investment’ by President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in providing infrastructure and ensuring that proper teaching and learning take place in the schools.
He explained that in spite of COVID-19 pandemic that hampered most activities, more than 92,000 candidates registered for the examination as against the 75,000 candidates that sat for the examination in 2019, adding that parents have now picked interest in the Unity Colleges because of the improvement in infrastructure as well as the quality of teaching and learning going in the schools in the last few years.
“Also very significant to mention is that for the past few years, I took the pain to follow up to a state, about the least state that is interested in the examination and that is Zamfara State,” Echono said.
“But I’m very pleased to announce and it is a pleasure because it demonstrates what political will means; Zamfara that used to be 47 that is 36 states plus FCT, the absolute last, in the last few years, this year Zamfara has moved up to number 14.”
“More significantly, Zamfara has the highest number of applicants compared with any of the Northern states with a total of 1,740 candidates that registered for the examination. Last year, only about 74 candidates registered for the examination,” he added.
However, Echono urged parents of the candidates not to be disturbed as the government was working to expand the facilities and the number of colleges, disclosing that this year only about six new Technical Colleges were created so as to be able to absorb more candidates.
He added that the Ministry of Education has approval for over a three-year period to establish 16 Federal Technical Colleges, noting that the first six have been established while the remaining ones would be established five per year.
Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education also monitored the conduct of the examination alongside Professor Godwill Obioma, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of NECO.
Some of the schools monitored include the Government Secondary School, Wuse Zone 3, Government Day Secondary School, Maitama, and Model Secondary School, Maitama, Abuja.
Adamu said he was particularly impressed by the adherence to COVID-19 protocols and guidelines across the 639 examination centres.
He noted that both candidates and invigilators wore face masks, observed physical distancing with candidates sitting about two metres from one another, noting the provision of washing hand water at strategic points with soap and hand sanitizers.
According to the Minister, the examination results would be released as quickly as possible to enable the successful candidates to prepare for resumption early next year.
Godswill Obioma, the NECO Registrar said the examination body has improved on its logistics by deploying 284 supervisors and invigilators across the centres.