Thursday, 16 January 2014

9 Year Old Anjola Botoku Writes WASSCE, Calls for Reduction of the Minimum Age of Candidates

Anjola Botoku
Read the interesting story of little Miss Anjolaoluwa Botoku who sat for two papers in the just concluded November/December WASSCE and passed both papers. On being interviewed by The Guardian on this fantastic feat, she called for a downward review of the minimum age for candidates of the exam so as to give Nigerians the chance to break records like their counterparts abroad. What do you think? Do you agree?

Anjola (9 years old) and her brothers Babajide (17 years old) and Olujiyin (14 years old)
Nine-year-old Miss Anjola Victoria Mautin Botoku, a pupil of Edidot School, Badore, Ajah and daughter of a Lagos Chief Magistrate, took part of her pocket money to register for last year’s November/December WASSCE with Exam Number 5250802098.
She registered for the examination at Eti-Osa centre with the assistance of her older siblings but without her parent’s knowledge passed English and French languages at credit level in a first attempt with little or no coaching at the tender age of nine. Interestingly, thousands of candidates have failed English Language at various attempts even after series of intensive coaching.
Anjolaoluwa registered as a private candidate for five subjects, namely English Language, Mathematics, French, Yoruba, Food and Nutrition, and Christian Religious Knowledge but however sat for only two subjects, English and French, after going through some past GCE question papers, but was absent for the others because she wasn’t prepared for them. When the results were released, she scored C6 in English and C5 in French. 
Said Anjola; “I was aware I was underage and it was illegal but determination and curiosity took the better part of me.”
Recounting her experience, Anjola said: “I studied a lot preparing for the exam using old past question papers of GCE. Nobody was aware in my school what I was up to although what I learnt at school played a huge role, as well as the coaching from my parents. My mother was my English teacher while my father took me on French lessons.”    
Her parents were only brought into the picture after her elder brothers, Babajide 17-year-old Telecommunication Engineering student in a private university and Olujuyin, 14-year-old SS 2 student of Edidot School, completed the registration for the exam.
 “When I told my parents about it, they were shocked and felt it was a daring joke considering my age, but I begged them to coach me for the exam. They both had degrees in English and French respectively before studying Law. My dad is a bilingual lawyer and a former French teacher.”
The Grade Six pupil, who clocked nine on September 17, 2013, said the GCE is a tough examination. But considering her level of preparation, especially in English, she was disappointed with her result, as she had expected a B2 or B3.
Anjola’s best wish is to secure scholarship into a good secondary school. “It would encourage me greatly to excel because I will feel fulfilled to have stepped into my mother’s shoes. My mum won a scholarship when she was my age. I am currently preparing for entrance examination into secondary school and would prefer Lagoon Secondary School or Atlantic Hall School.”
Among the challenges she faced sitting for the exam was the peering eyes that stared at her at the exam hall. Nobody believed she was a candidate. “Several times, I was denied access into the hall by examiners. It was the biometric test, which matched my thumbprint with the one in their system that usually saves the situation.
“Some candidates were mocking me and calling me names like ‘over-ambitious’, ‘wait for your time.’ Another challenge was when the computer rejected my original age. I burst into tears when my application was rejected. I had to falsify my age by adding five years before the application could be completed.”
Despite her love for books, Anjola has a social life. “I love dancing and have won several dancing competition at most birthday parties and social functions I attend. I like listening to musicians like Wizkid, PSquare, 2Face, Beyonce, and Rihanna. I have lots of friends and I relax by playing games on my dad’s iPad, watching television or swimming.
“In Edidot School, they usually organize French Day and Miss French pageant competition. I once won the Miss French competition. Currently, I am the Head-Girl of my school. My daddy said Paris is a beautiful city. I heard of the famous French proverb ‘See Paris and die’, and I wish to visit Paris someday.
“My dream is to be a medical doctor in future. If possible, be the youngest medical doctor in the history of Nigeria. I will continue reading and preparing for my exams, and write the GCE again   when I officially attain the age of 13. This attempt was an experiment.”
Anjola decried the age limit of 13 placed by the exam body, which she said is unfair since in developed countries, young people are admitted into the university at the age of nine.
“I would like the concerned authorities to change the age limit to allow Nigerians break or set new world records. Recently, a 10-year-old Nigerian passed Microsoft professional exams; the youngest medical doctor in the world is aged 17. 
“Also, the youngest professor ever, Alla Sabur, became a professor at age 18. She was an undergraduate at 10 and got her first degree at 14 from New York State University.
“My message to children of my age is for them to cultivate the reading culture, be ready to learn and show seriousness in their studies because having the right attitude is better than hard-work and knowledge.” 

Culled from The Guardian

Fun-loving Anjola at the Arcade

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