No fewer than 76,855 candidates yesterday sat for the 2021 National Common Entrance Examination for admission into the 110 Unity Colleges in the country.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, stated this while monitoring the examination at Federal Science and Technical College, Orozo, Government Secondary School, Karu, and Federal Government Boys College, Apo, all in Abuja.
He noted that government had planned to increase the carrying capacity of the Unity Schools to 30,000 to accommodate new stream of schools and more candidates who are desirous of attending the colleges.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc Sonny Echono, the minister said the carrying was increased to about 26,000 last year which did not include the six new technical colleges and the plan to establish five more colleges in the country to bring the number of Unity Colleges to 115.
He said the government was concerned about persistent attacks on schools and abduction of students and had taken steps to beef up security around the colleges while appealing to parents to allow their children enrol for the colleges established to foster national integration and cohesion.
“We know that there are security challenges across the federation but we are working assiduously to address that. Government has been kind to the sector and the National Assembly has continued to appropriate funds for us to provide security infrastructure in our schools.
“So, the federal schools are actually more secure than most others. On the strength of that we want parents to allow their children enrol for the schools; let them know this country and meet other people,” he said.
He added that it was interesting that more girls sat for the examination yesterday, as a result of sensitisation and advocacy efforts by the ministry, saying Zamfara four years ago had no student to enrol into Unity College, but has surprisingly become the first state with highest registered number of candidates in the North after the Federal Capital Territory.
“This examination is taking place at a very difficult time, our chief examiner is not here with us, but as people of faith, we say all is well and we are trusting God to comfort the family and rest of us in the education family for the loss of the registrar of NECO, Prof Godswill Obioma.”
The team was accompanied by the Acting Registrar and Chief Executive of National Examination Council (NECO), Mr Ebikibina John Ogborodi and some top officials of the ministry.
Acting Registrar of NECO, Ogborodi, said the conduct of the examination was smooth and hitch-free in all the 417 centres across the country.
While giving a breakdown on candidates that sat for the examination, the acting registrar said highest state in the examination is Lagos with 21,423 candidates followed by FCT, 8674 candidates, Anambra 5,738 and Zamfara has 4,865 while Taraba has the least registered number of candidates of 113.
He also disclosed that the total number of females that registered for the examination was 39,555 while 37,300 male candidates registered for the examination.