By Felix Khanoba
No fewer than 92,591 candidates on Saturday battled it out for the 30,000 admission spots in Federal Government Colleges (Unity Schools) across the country.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echono, who spoke to newsmen after monitoring the National Common Entrance Examination, said the increase of the admission spaces from 26,000 to 30,000 was made possible with the establishment of six new schools in addition to 104 existing ones.
He said: “We are expanding. We have added six new schools this year. So parents should not be worried we are going to be able to absorb as many as do very well. These are model schools; so we always take the best students.
“We are now moving towards 30,000 carrying capacity. We used to hover around 25,000-26,000 but with the new additions, we are talking about 30,000. So it is almost one in three for those who are applying that will get space.”
While commending Zamfara State for moving from the bottom to the 14th position in states with the highest number of applicants in this year’s Unity Schools’ common entrance exam, Econo disclosed that Lagos with 26,006 candidates came top on the list followed by FCT-9,763, Anambra-6,440, Rivers-5,320, Imo-4,781 and Enugu-4,457.
Earlier, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who also monitored the National Examinations Council (NECO) conducted examination at Government Secondary School, Wuse Zone 3 and Government Secondary School, Tudun Wada, Zone 4, expressed delight over the seamless exercise.
Adamu said results of the examination will come out as quickly as possible, while also disclosing that a new academic calendar for the schools will commence as soon as students complete their third term examinations.
On his part, Registrar of NECO, Prof Godswill Obioma, said despite Covid-19, the number of applicants increased in 2020 due to deepening awareness and visibility campaigns carried out by the council to restore confidence in the institution.
Obioma said NECO would be a competitive exam body globally, noting that the exam was well coordinated as candidates complied with Covid-19 protocols by wearing masks, using hand sanitizers and properly spaced to ensure social distancing.
He said in order to maintain academic and Covid-19 standards in the conduct of the exercise; NECO deployed 284 internal monitors, while the Ministry of Education deployed 295 external monitors.