A total of 92,591 candidates on Saturday across the country sat for the National Common Entrance Examination conducted by the National Examination Council (NECO).
The examination which admits candidates into the 104 Federal Government Colleges also known as Unity Schools held across over 600 centres nationwide.
However, with constraints of limited carrying capacity of the schools, the Federal Government said only about 30,000 out of the 92,591 candidates may be offered admission, representing a ratio of 1 out of 3 candidates that would be given admission at the end of the exercise.
Malam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, monitored the conduct of the examination alongside the permanent secretary, Sonny Echono, and the registrar of the Council, Professor Godwill Obioma.
They all lauded the smooth conduct of the examination, which they noted confirmed with Covid-19 Protocols.
Some of the schools monitored include Government Secondary School, Wuse Zone 3, Government Day Secondary School, Maitama, and Model Secondary School, Maitama, Abuja.
Adamu was particularly impressed by the adherence to COVID-19 protocols and guidelines across the 639 examination centres, saying he was delighted that both candidates and invigilators wore face masks, observed physical distancing with candidates sitting about two metres from one another as well as provision of water at strategic points with soap and hand sanitizers.
He noted that the examination results would be released as quickly as possible to enable the successful candidates prepare for resumption early next year.
Permanent Secretary, Arc. Sonny Echono, in his remarks, noted that this year National Common Entrance Examination witnessed a significant increase in a number of candidates because of the modest investment by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in providing infrastructure and ensuring that proper teaching and learning take place in the schools.
He explained that in spite of COVID-19 pandemic that hampered most activities, more than 92,000 candidates registered for the examination as against the 75,000 candidates that sat for the examination in 2019, adding that parents have now picked interest in the Unity Colleges because of the improvement in infrastructure as well as the quality of teaching and learning going in the schools in the last few years.
He said: “Also very significant to mention is that for the past few years, I took the pain to follow up to a State, about the least State that is interested in the examination and that is Zamfara State. But I’m very pleased to announce and it is a pleasure because it demonstrates what political will means; Zamfara that used to be 37 that is 36 states plus FCT, the absolute last, in the last few years, this year Zamfara has moved up to number 14.
“More significantly, Zamfara has the highest number of applicants compared with any of the Northern states with a total of 1,740 candidates that registered for the examination. Last year, only about 74 candidates registered for the examination,” he said.
On carrying capacity of the schools, Echono urged parents not to be disturbed as the government was working to expand the facilities and the number of colleges, disclosing that this year only about six new Technical Colleges were created so as to be able to absorb more candidates.
He added that the Ministry of Education had approval for over a three-year period to establish 16 Federal Technical Colleges, saying the first six have been established and that the remaining ones would be established five per year.
He said: “We are now moving towards 30,000. We used to hover around 25,000 but we have the new additions, we are talking about almost one in three of those who are applying that will get space because we are talking of about 92,000 and 30,000 carrying capacity. The ratio is about one in three for this year.”
NECO Registrar, Prof. Godswill Obioma, said the examination body had improved on its logistics, a development that saw the deployment of 284 supervisors and invigilators to the centres.