A total of 76,855 candidates have sat for the 2021 National Common Entrance Examination for admission into the 110 Federal Government Colleges also known as Unity Schools in Nigeria.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echono monitored the conduct of the exercise by NECO in Abuja.
He 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 of Education.
The exercise was reportedly hitch-free.
The Minister, after the monitoring tour, said the federal government has planned to increase the carrying capacity of the Unity Schools to 30,000 to accommodate the new stream of schools and more candidates who are desirous to attend the colleges.
He explained that the carrying was increased to about 26,000 last year, which did not include the six new Technical Colleges and that there is a plan to establish five more Colleges in the country to bring the total number of Unity Colleges to 115.
He said the government was concerned about persistent attacks on schools and abduction of students and has taken steps to beef up security around the Colleges while appealing to parents to allow their children enrol in the Colleges established to foster national integration and cohesion.
Adamu said: “We know that there are security challenges across the Federation but we are working assiduously to address that. The government has been kind to the sector and National Assembly has continued to appropriate funds for us to provide security infrastructure in our schools.
“So, the Federal Schools are actually more secured 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 said it was interesting that more girls sat for the examination on Saturday, as a result of sensitisation and advocacy efforts of the Ministry, saying Zamfara four years ago had no one student to enrol into Unity College, and has surprisingly become the first state with highest registered number of candidates in the North after Federal Capital Territory.
Adamu said: “This examination is taken 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 Education family for the loss of the Registrar of NECO, Prof. Godswill Obioma.
Acting Registrar of NECO, Ogborodi, said the conduct of the examination was smooth and hitch-free in all the 417 examination centres across the country.
The Acting Registrar explained that the highest state with pupils in the examination is Lagos, with 21,423 candidates, followed by FCT, 8, 674 candidates, Anambra at 5,738 and Zamfara at 4,865 while Taraba has the least registered number of candidates of 113.
He also disclosed that the total number of female pupils who registered for the examination was 39,555 while a total of 37,300 male candidates registered for the examination
The Minister’s monitoring team was at Federal Science and Technical College, Orozo, Government Secondary School, Karu, and Federal Government Boys College, Apo, Abuja.