No fewer than 79,878 candidates, sat for the 2018 National Common Entrance Examination, to enable them to gain admission into the 104 Federal Government Colleges also known as unity colleges across the country.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the Registrar National Examination Council, NECO, Prof. Charles Uwakwe, noted that Lagos State recorded the highest number of candidates sitting for the examination with over 25,000 candidates, while Zamfara State accounts for the lowest enrolment figure with 28 candidates.
While disclosing that the examinations had earlier commenced in the North Eastern states, he gave assurances that the conduct of the examinations has been peaceful and modalities were in place to ensure it remains so.
Uwakwe also noted that at the instance of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to keep the registration portal open, more students had enrolled for the examination taking place across the country.
“As a matter of principle, we should keep the doors open. We have had a head start with the North East and on Wednesday, the team had left. I have been doing very close monitoring, I have also spoken to the zonal director and state officers and we are very satisfied that the exams are moving on satisfactorily.
“79,878 pupils are taking the exams that is the current figure and registration is still ongoing. Last night I got another 150, 000 from one of the South Eastern states but the minister insisted that we should keep the doors open for our children so that no one will be disenfranchised and that is what we have done and we are very hopeful.
“Lagos state has the highest number of pupil enrolment for the exams with over 25,000 and the lowest enrollment is in Zamfara state,” he said.
The NECO boss who clarified that the ministry would determine the number of successful candidates to be admitted into the unity schools, also noted that special provisions had been made to accommodate candidates with special needs
“There are provisions for children with special needs and when the documentation was done, we tried to take care that into consideration and so on the day of exams, we took adequate care of them,” he added.
The minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, who visited one of the centres, Government Secondary School Wuse Zone 3, to monitor the examinations, expressed satisfaction with the manner in which NECO was conducting the examination.
“The environment is good enough for the examinations, the atmosphere is comfortable. With what I have seen here, it is okay though I don’t know what is going on elsewhere but so far so good, I am impressed,” he said.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government worried over the registration of candidates in comparison with previous years, had directed NECO to keep the portal open until April 13, 2018, to enable more eligible candidates register for the examinations.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, had disclosed that a report of a meeting of major stakeholders in the education sector indicated that as at March 03, 2018, the total number of candidates registered stood at 71, 294 as against 80,421 that wrote the examination in 2017.
According to him the extension of the registration was necessary to boost federal government’s drive to guarantee access and equity in the nation’s educational development.