Under 15 secondary school leavers are ill-equipped to cope with social and psychological pressures associated with after school life, an educationist, Mrs Anastasia Okobi, said on Friday.
“Under-15 young people still need to be tutored, guided and cultivated in many aspects of adult life.
“They are still not mature enough to deal with relationship issues with the opposite sex, and independence that after school life brings.
“It is worse-off if an early school leaver gets admission into university; he or she easily can derail from the objective of the admission due to immaturity,’’ Okobi said.
The retired Deputy Director in the Lagos State Teaching Service said that many Nigerian students were in classes not appropriate for their ages.
She said that school leaving below age 14 was in the increase in Lagos State.
“Our model colleges in Lagos are overwhelmed by seven-year-old pupils in the first year of junior school.
“This means that by 13, these students will leave secondary school and may get admitted into university a year or two later.
“The truth is that the high rate of delinquency in the country can be linked to the immaturity of young people,’’ she said.
The educationist condemned the attitude of parents who encouraged their children to falsify their ages so as to get university or college admission.
She called on governments, teachers and parents to discourage students from finishing secondary education before age 15.
According to her, those who design curricula and learning modules do so after considering ages and the society’s level of advancement.
She said that a nation’s philosophy of education ought not to be at variance with the needs of the society.
“Nigeria’s development trajectory today requires young minds who can take over from the ruling class.
“Nigeria will need young leaders who are mature, knowledgeable of the nation’s history, development needs, and knowledgeable about overcoming the centrifugal forces confronting the country,’’ Okobi said.
She urged federal and state ministries of education to increase public enlightenment against school leaving at a young age and granting of university admission to under 15 applicants.
The 16 years minimum age for admission into universities has become a norm in Nigeria.(NAN)