By Funmilayo Adeyemi
Abuja, Oct. 17, 2020 The Federal Ministry of Education has commended Zamfara for moving from the state with the least registered students, to number 14 in the 2020 common entrance examination into Federal Government Colleges
As students write the 2020 common entrance examination across the country, the ministry commended the significant improvement by Zamfara during the monitoring of the examinations by officials of both the ministry and the National Examination Council (NECO) in Abuja on Saturday.
Mr Sonny Echono, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education called on other states yet to do well, to improve more as the carrying capacity had been increased to 30,000.
According to him, I am impressed that the standards are rising. I call on everyone to do the right thing to expand the schools.
“The examination is going round 639 centres across the country. We have witnessed a significant increase in number.
“First, we are grateful to Mr President for the modest investment in technology to provide basic infrastructure to make our schools secure and to make sure that proper teaching and learning can take place in those schools.
“This year, we have more than 92,000 applicants for this examinations which jumped from between 72,000 and 75,000, which we have had concurrently for three years.
“But also very significant and important to mention is that for the past two years, I had the pain of complaining that I even followed it with visit to one of the states that used to be the least in terms of participation in our examination and that is Zamfara.
“But I am very pleased to announce today and this demonstrates what political will means. Zamfara that used to be number 37, which is the absolute last in the last two years, this year has moved to number 14 and more significantly has the highest number of applicants from the northern states.”
Echono said that government had approved for three years to have 16 technical schools that would boost technical education in the country, while also calling for improved mechanism within the schools.
NECO Registrar, Prof. Godswill Obioma said that deepening awareness of the council had resulted into the increase in the number of registered candidates compared with previous years.
Obioma said that 284 internal monitors were deployed by the council as well as the deployment of 295 external monitors by the ministry of education for the conduct of the examinations to maintain standards
“This year, because of deepening awareness which we have been able to do across the country prior to the examinations, has brought about the increase.
“NECO did a lot of visibility campaign to reinstate confidence in the public, which means NECO has now come of light, so we see an upsurge from clientele to parents and students.
“And that is why we have above 92,000 this year. In terms of coordination, you can see the students in compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines; about two metres apart and the students are putting on their face masks,” he said.
The registrar however said that the council had proposed a five-year strategic plan which included the use of information technology in the conduct of its examinations.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu commended the students for their comportment in the examination, while expressing satisfactions with the observance of COVID-19 protocols as stated by the Federal Government.
Adamu promised that the results would be ready as soon as possible.
On the regularisation of academic calendar caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Adamu said that Federal Government Colleges would resume for new academic calendar in January 2021 after completing the 2019/2020 session in December.
“The exam is very good; they have done the protocol of COVID-19 as is it expected and I think the spacing is alright and they started on time.
“The results will come out as quickly as possible. Everything is digitalised.
“They are going to finish their third term and then the new calendar can start next year, so for Federal Government Colleges, when the examination is through, you will get to know the date,”
Meanwhile, Dr Abubakar Sadiqque, the Chairman, Governing Council, NECO, said that the council had deployed modern technology that would fast track the release of results.
He said that the council reduced examination fees to allow Nigerians have more registrations in the examination.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that schools visited during the monitoring include Government Secondary School (GSS) Area 3, GSS Wuse II, FCT Tudun Wada and Model Secondary School, Maitama.
A total number of 92,591 candidates registered for the 2020 NECO examinations with 44,021 males and 48,550 females and 22 visually impaired candidates.
Lagos State that came top, registered 26,006, FCT came second with registered applicants of 9,763, followed by Anambra with 6,440 registered applicants and Zamfara came 14th with 1,742 applicants.
Meanwhile, the last bottom three states are Kaduna with 1,197, Osun 1,194 and Cross River with 1,147 applications.