From Mike Ubani, Umuahia
Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State, has offered admission and scholarship to the two best candidates in the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
According to the Chancellor of the University, Prof. Gregory Ibe, it would be wrong to deny the two best candidates admission into the universities of their choice because of their age bracket.
Recall that Franklin Ekene, and Igban Emmanuel Chidiebube, both 15-years-old, scored 347 and 346 marks respectively to emerge as best candidates in the recently released 2019 UTME results.
According to JAMB regulations, the duo are not qualified to be admitted into any university in the country because they are under-aged.
But speaking with our correspondent on phone yesterday, Prof. Ibe argued that age should not be a barrier to excellence, saying that JAMB and the universities should admit the two best candidates on the basis of their exceptional brilliance.
He said that Gregory University was ready to offer admission to the two best candidates – Ekene and Chidiebube.
His words: “We are giving both of them scholarship. It’s imperative that we recognise the efforts of these kids.
“In faraway United States, at the age of 15, my twins made the best results in New York. The mayor of New York brought them to his house for dinner.
“After that, my sons went to the University. One is a cardiologist in St Mary’s, while the other is an orthopaedic surgeon at Yale University.
If 15-year-olds like my sons could show America that they are from Nigeria, and I see other 15-year-old Nigerian kids being denied their right to education, then it means I am doing disservice to humanity.”The rule of engagement is that if you pass your JAMB, you will be given admission. I want intelligent children to go to school.
“There is a contract they got into with the Nigerian government via JAMB. When they paid for their forms, filled and submitted them; were allowed to sit for the exams JAMB knew that they were 15-year-old.
“Haven’t you seen the nine-year-old that holds a PhD in Mathematics abroad? Haven’t you seen a 15-year- old with a PhD?
“So, why are we shying away from promoting the young ones with exceptional skills?
“In Ghana the other day, a two-and-half-year-old was interviewed by BBC because of his exceptional brilliance.
“Dr. Hanatou is a member of the board of ICPC at the age of 27. If she did five years PhD, four years Bsc, and one year of Masters, its 10 years. 10 years minus 22, how old was she when she became an undergraduate? So, why do we want to shoot ourselves on the feet?
“But if you want to invoke an obsolete law of 1950 that says you can’t be admitted at 15, in this age of artificial intelligence, you are talking of manual intelligence.
“This should change. So if you know where to get these sharp kids, we are waiting for them to come.”