From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
No fewer than 76,855 candidates on Saturday sat for the 2021 National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) organised by the National Examinations Council (NECO) for admission into the 110 Federal Government Colleges (FGCs), also known as Unity Schools.
A breakdown of the figures indicates that Lagos, with 21,423 candidates, topped the registration table. It was followed by FCT with 8,674 candidates; Anambra with 5,738, Zamfara with 4,865, and Taraba having the least number of registered candidates at 113.
The record also indicated that that 39,555 females registered for the examination, compared with males at 37,300 registered candidates.
Minister of Education Malam Adamu Adamu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, alongside the Acting NECO Registrar, Mr Ebikibina Ogborodi, and some top officials of the ministry, monitored the exercise in some schools in Abuja.
The minister said that the exercise was generally hitch-free nationwide as reported across the country, disclosing that the goverment has plans to increase the carrying capacity of the Unity Schools to 30,000 to accommodate a new stream of schools and more candidates who are desirous of attending the Colleges.
He noted that the carrying capacity of the schools 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 total number of Unity Colleges to 115.
He said the goverment was concerned about persistent attacks on schools and abduction of school children and has taken steps to beef up security around the Colleges, while appealing to parents to allow their children to 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. Goverment has been kind to the sector and National Assembly has continued to appropriate funds for us to provide security infrastructure in our schools,’ Adamu said.
‘So, the Federal Unity Schools are actually more secured than most others. On the strength of that, we want parents to allow their children to enrol for the schools; let them know this country and meet other people.’
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 the highest registered number of candidates in the north after Federal Capital Territory.
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.