At last, the Lagos State Government under the stewardship of Governor Babajide SanwoOlu has pegged entry age into both public and private secondary schools in the state at 12 years beginning from the next academic session. The state government said it took the decision to check the influx of under aged children into the Junior Secondary School One (JSS1).
The statement also added that there would be punishment for those that would violet the policy. According to the state government, a first-time offender will be fined N50,000 while a second time offender would pay N100,000 with a warning letter to close the school in case of a further violation.
In a circular to Concerned Parents, dated March 17, 2020, the state government said the new policy will be enforced in public and private schools to enhance compliance in the 2021 academic session. Signed by Mrs. A.A. Adebowale on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, the circular acknowledged the several disadvantages embedded in the admission of under-aged children into junior secondary schools.
According to Adebowale, based on the stand of the State Policy on Education, the commissioner for education has directed that the admission of children into either public or private junior secondary schools be pegged at 12 years, and this would be strictly enforced by agencies of education in the state.
The circular also stressed the need for sensitisation and advocacy drive by both registered and non-registered associations of private schools, parents’ forum, and other related educational bodies through mass media, filers, market place campaign, mosques, churches and town hall meetings.
The circular also disclosed that a meeting involving presidents and secretaries of private school associations would be organised by the ministry to enable the education commissioner to solicit their cooperation for the enforcement of the policy.
The curriculum department and office of quality assurance according to the memo were mandated to monitor compliance by schools, adding ” there should be sanctions for any schools that register under-aged pupils to both primary and public secondary schools.”
The new policy emphasised that examinations board and the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) would ensure that under-aged pupils are neither allowed registration nor participation in placement test into JSS 1 and model college screening.
“Screening exercise for the transition from primary school to junior secondary school should be strictly adhered to as stated in section 3, sub-section 61, page 22 of Lagos State policy on education”, the circular said.