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Students in a classroom

Mixed reactions have trailed the Lagos State government for pegging entry age for prospective pupils into any private or public secondary school at 12years – a move to checkmating under-aged kids registration in the state.

The state government has said the new policy would be enforced in both public and private schools to enhance compliance.

According to the state government, under-aged children are easily influenced immorally and most fail to concentrate on their studies.

It added that a meeting with associations of private schools, parents’ forums, and other related educational bodies would be organized by the state ministry of education to sensitize them accordingly.

Ashley Abiodun, a senior lecturer at Yaba College of Technology, believes the government is on track to curb underage admission of students into secondary schools.

“Exposure and brilliance are not the same thing. When a child leaves the cover of his parents underage, it affects him socially and psychologically”, Abiodun said.

Abiodun explained that when a child leaves home too early for an academic quest, such a child could be easily influenced, thereby vulnerable to picking immoral characters, though he might be brilliant.

In most cases, he said, “ most of these underage students were forced by their parents who will arrange for people to write examinations for them, and when they finally get into the school, the confidence to cope with academic work is not there.”

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Ashley Abiodun, a senior lecturer at Yaba College of Technology, believes the government is on track to curb underage admission of students into secondary schools.

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Abiodun explained that when a child leaves home too early for an academic quest, such a child could be easily influenced, thereby vulnerable to picking immoral characters, though he might be brilliant.

In most cases, he said, “ most of these underage students were forced by their parents who will arrange for people to write examinations for them, and when they finally get into the school, the confidence to cope with academic work is not there.”

Lizzy Ohaka, a school proprietress applauds the Lagos State government for the directive but fears the policy may not stand the test as many parents will go out of their ways to break the rule.

“Parents are the ones bastardizing this policy which is in line with the 6:3:3:4 system by pressurizing school owners to allow their wards to jump classes and even will forge birth certificates all in efforts to have their ways. School owners on their own will not want to lose out, hence, many will comply,” she said.

Ohaka, a University of Lagos-trained early childhood education specialist disclosed that allowing children to leave home without proper parental nurture exposes such a child to a lot of dangers that may in the long run ruin his or her future.

Chima Nwosu, a parent, questioned the rationale behind the policy.

“It is laughable and insincere of the government. Have they taken time to address the age requirements placed on fresh graduates by the employers,” he asked.

Nwosu stated that placing bottleneck hurdles in the way of children’s education pursuit is not the best. According to him, the government should pay more attention to equipping the schools and bringing them to international standards to ensure that the students are given the best of teaching which prepares them for the life ahead.

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Stanley Alaubi, a senior lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt sees the Lagos State directive in tandem with the 6:3:3:4 system of education.

However, he frowned at the fact that this system was rendered obsolete by many private schools in their quest to make more money at the detriment of their intellectual goals.

The government listed the disadvantages in the admission of under-aged children into junior secondary schools, adding that a meeting of associations of private schools, parents’ forums, and other related educational bodies would be organized by the state ministry of education to sensitize them accordingly.

Also, Blessing Iniobong, a mother, said the reason some parents would want their children to skip classes, especially the brilliant ones, is money.

“The cost of having one’s children in schools these days is very high.

There are no jobs for the parents, the cost of living is getting higher every day, so if one can get a child to jump a class, why not, provided that he or she can cope?”, she stated.

Olarenwaju Janet, a teacher, said children must complete the circle of primary 1 to 6 classes before they are admitted into secondary school.

“It is not ideal for a child to skip classes because such a child will miss out on some basic studies and this will later hurt his or her academic growth. Any child who finishes primary or secondary school at a lower age will not have the emotional balance required in the upper stages,” she said.

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