Nigerian Senate Set to Fix University Admission Age at 18

The Nigerian Senate is currently discussing a new legislative measure that would establish 18 years as the minimum age for admission into universities and other higher education institutions in the country.

This proposal, championed by Senator Muntari Dandutse, chairman of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund, comes in the wake of observations made during the ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Abuja.

Senator Dandutse, echoing the sentiments of the Minister of Education, supports the initiative as a means to ensure that only adults pursue university education, thus avoiding the enrollment of minors. This move is seen as a safeguard that maintains a standard age for entry into higher education, similar to existing age requirements for primary and secondary school enrollment.

The proposed change is not intended to limit access to education for older individuals. Senator Sunday Karimi, a member of the committee, emphasized that the goal is to enhance educational accessibility while setting a sensible lower age limit. “Education should be accessible to all, regardless of age. However, it is also important to have a sensible minimum age to start university education,” Karimi explained.

This legislative effort has garnered support from key educational bodies, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). ASUU President Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke welcomed the proposal, affirming that establishing a clear age benchmark aligns with traditional educational timelines and helps ensure that students are adequately prepared for the rigors of tertiary education.

The initiative complements President Bola Tinubu’s implementation of the student loan plan, aimed at broadening access to higher education across Nigeria. The Senate plans to review and possibly amend existing laws to strengthen this new age requirement, making the legal framework more robust and aligned with current educational and social realities.


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