FG raises carrying capacity of FUCs to 30,000
The Federal Government has announced an increase in the number of admission spaces into Federal Unity Colleges, FUCs, from 26,000 to 30,000 beginning from the 2020/2021 academic session.
Permanent Secretary, Federal ministry of Education, Arc Sonny Echono, disclosed this in Abuja after monitoring the 2020 National Common Entrance Examination into the colleges on Saturday.
Echono said the increase follows the completion of six new federal government colleges in 2020, in addition to 104 existing ones.
He disclosed that over 92,591 candidates participated in the 2020 National Common Entrance Examination which took place on Saturday, in 639 centres nationwide.
“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’s almost one in three for those who are applying that will get space,” he said.
According to him, the significant increase in number was the result of modest investments government is making to turn unity colleges to what they used to be to provide basic infrastructure, make them secure and ensure that proper teaching and learning takes place in the schools.
“So we now have a lot of people finally becoming more interested. This year have more than 92,000 applicants for this examination. It’s a good jump from between 75,000 and 78,000 that we have had concurrently for three years.
“But also very significant to mention is that for the past two years I had the pain of complaining, in fact I even followed it with a visit to one of the states that used to be the least interested or in terms of participation in our examination and that is Zamfara state.
“But I am very pleased to announce today because it demonstrate what political will means. Zamfara that used to be 37th that is after the 36 states and FCT, it was the absolute last in the last two years, this year has moved up to number 14th in the country.
“And more significantly, it has the highest number of applicants from any of the northern states in the country. A total of 1740 candidates were registered from Zamfara state whoch is significant. Last year we had 74. We want every child that attends unity schools to meet at least one person from each of the states in the country so that we know about ourselves, our culture.
“We want to specially commend the government and people of Zamfara state for this very significant improvement and we call on many other states who have not done too well to continue to emulate Zamfara. But we have also observed from the trend that now there is a significant spread across the states,” he said.
Echono disclosed that as usual, Lagos was leading, followed by Abuja, Anambra, Rivers, Imo, Enugu and orders.
Earlier, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who monitored the examination at Government Secondary School Wuse Zone 3 and Government Secondary School, Tudun Wada, Zone 4, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the exercise, stating that the centres complied with every protocol of covid-19 and started on time.
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.
Also speaking, the Registrar of the National Examinations Council, Prof Godswill Obioma, said despite covid-19, the number of applicants increased in 2020 due to deepening awareness and visibility campaign carried out by the council to restore confidence in the institution.
Obioma said NECO will be a competitive exam body globally, noting that the exams was well coordinated as candidates complied with covid-19 protocol 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.
He added that NECO has developed a five which is awaiting approval from the ministry to deepen information technology in the conduct of its examinations, noting that the council has been able to brief over 3,000 supervisors and over 5,000 invigilators using virtual platforms.
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