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Reasons Why Unity Schools Have Low Enrolment – Stakeholders

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Reasons Why Unity Schools Have Low Enrolment – Stakeholders

The Federal Government Colleges, also known as Unity schools, were created by the Federal Government to enhance national integration and also promote academic excellence. To gain admission to these schools, one has to register and undergo an examination organised by the National Examinations Council (NECO).


However, gaining admission into the Unity Schools has always been tough as there are huge competitions. But recent trends seem to show lesser interest in the schools.


For example, the examination body recently had to re-scheduled the 2024, National Common Entrance Examination into Federal schools.

The Council in a statement signed by its Ag. Director, Directorate of Information and Digital Communication, Azeez Sani disclosed that the rescheduling of the examination was due to low enrolment of candidates.


The National Common Entrance Examination to Unity School which was earlier scheduled to hold on April 20, 2024, was shifted to June 1, 2024.


The statement had urged all candidates, parents, guardians, schools and relevant stakeholders to take note of the new dates for the examinations.


“The registration of candidates will continue till the new dates for the examinations,” it added.


Speaking on the possible reasons for the low enrollment, NECO’s Ag. Director, Directorate of Information and Digital Communication, Sani blamed the lack of awareness as one of the reasons.


He accused the state governments of not doing their part to create awareness about the examination to encourage enrollment.


“Most of the parents that reside within the rural area, they might not be aware of the examination. The onus lies on the state government to carry out an enlightenment programme that those in the rural area will be aware of it.


“On our own part, we have state offices across the country and they have been doing that through jingles on the radio, stakeholders meeting with relevant authorities like PTA, Principals of Secondary schools and others.


“We are doing it on our own but I feel the state government should complement our effort so that those in the rural area will get to hear about the examination. If you take the statistics of those that registered, they are mostly from urban areas,” he said.


Another reason, the acting Director noted, was the entrance age to the colleges. He explained that students must attain the age of ten before taking the entrance examination which he said was a snag for parents who want to push their children to secondary school at the early age of 8, 9 years.


“Most parents these days will want their wards to go to private school. You know some parents will want their children to enroll in secondary school even at the age of nine whereas for the Common Entrance, if you don’t attain the age of ten, you cannot sit for the examination,” said.


Sani added that the state of insecurity in the country is another factor as many parents will not allow their children to go to far distances for education.


“Those days, somebody from Lagos can get admitted to Federal Government College Sokoto. but with insecurity, I am sure most parents will not want their children to go far from where they are living,” he added.


Sani however stated that with the postponement of the examination, many more candidates have registered.


On his part, the President-General of Unity Schools Old Students Association, (USOSA) Michael Magaji, stated that the low enrolment is witnessed in states affected by insecurity.


“To the best of my knowledge, enrollment is still going on in Unity Schools. The only thing that might affect it is maybe location. If you are talking about Unity schools in a place like Maiduguri and Damaturu, where there is a crisis, of course enrolment will drop because of the security concerns.


“As for Unity schools in places like Jos or Lagos, they can’t even cope with the admission because they have many students applying,” he said.

He stated that the quality of teaching in the Unity Schools has remained top notch, insisting that if insecurity is tackled enrolment will increase in places where they are low.


He added that his association is doing a lot in the colleges in order to ensure that the academic excellence the schools are known for, did not drop.


“We are building, classrooms, hostels and donating books. We are training teachers and upgrading facilities. Recently, we started a partnership with the ministry of education where we have a USOSA desk, a deals officer responsible for alumni relations to straighten the bond between the ministry and the alumni. We have been doing a lot over the last 30 years and we will continue to do more,” he said.

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