As the weeklong Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) prepared by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) ends today, many candidates and parents have expressed reservations about the exercise.
This is even as JAMB vowed to ensure a smooth and successful conduct of the UTME.
In Gombe State, no fewer than 20, 000 candidates registered and wrote the exams in different Computer Based Test (CBT) centres.
The exercise at the Gombe State University and Federal College of Education CBT centres was free and fair, just like other centres visited in the metropolis. Some however complained of being rejected by the thumb print scanners.
A JAMB official, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said “We have recorded some negligible cases where the scanner failed to recognize some duly registered students. We have taken their details and we will forward same to the headquarters and a new date will be fixed to conduct the exam for all the candidates with such kind of problems.”
In Oyo State, candidates expressed displeasure over the inability to write the examination in some centres.
A candidate, Miss Fathia Moyosore Balogun, was one of those denied access to the University of Ibadan CBT centre located at Awo Hall.
Balogun said “I registered for the examination at UI CBT centre at Awo Hall. The machine recognized my finger at that time. I don’t know what caused it. JAMB should consider me. I am crying because I don’t know what to do.”
A UTME official, Dr. O.J. Ezekiel identified server failure as one of the challenges militating against the conduct of the examination in the centre. He however said that all efforts made by the officials to ensure that the scanner recognized Balogun’s finger print proved abortive.
A student at the Nursing School Eleyele Ibadan centre, Eniola Adetayo, however, described the exercise as a success.
Parents and candidates at Flourish Computer Centre, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State also complained over the inability to write the exam.
Candidates said the computers at the centre shutdown 20 minutes after the exams commenced, adding that after the inability of the management to rectify the situation, the candidates were asked to leave the hall.
They said when the candidates became rowdy at 8pm, the management of the centre allegedly used police to disperse them.
One of the candidates, Moses Okokon, said he was at the venue of the exams by 6am on Thursday but his computer alongside those of other candidates stopped after answering about 20 questions.
“We thumb printed and started, but shortly after, the computers logged out. They asked us to start again and the systems had the same problem. They asked us to wait as the exams will be rescheduled. The second batch had the same problem so I don’t know if the exams will be rescheduled or cancelled,” he said.
Another candidate, Miss Emediong Eyo, who was supposed to write the exams by 1pm, said she arrived the venue by 12noon and noticed that the candidates in the first batch came out crying, adding that they could only answer two or three questions before the systems stopped.
“At 1.30pm, they scanned our thumb prints and we waited outside till 7pm and nothing happened. We were about to leave when they said we should wait and we waited till 8.30pm when we started. My computer did not even open at all but those who sat near me logged into the computer but monitors were blank.
“We could not write the exams and we were later asked to leave the hall. We were angry and staged a peaceful protest. Before long, SARS came in and threatened to shoot us if we do not leave the exams. We want JAMB to cancel this centre and give us another centre to write exams or reschedule it for us,” she said.
Hon. Victor Etienam, father to one of the candidates, said the management of the centre has not been able to conduct the exams, adding that candidates don’t know their fate.
“I brought my son here yesterday, he was to write exams by 9am, but I discovered that the first batch that went in for the exams by 7am were frustrated and came out crying that the systems collapsed.
“The management said they would call in the experts and the problem would be fixed, that the system would be okay for the second batch. But when the second batch was later called in, they stayed for over three hours and came out crying, saying that the system opened for only five minutes and then went off.
“They said they were not allowed to leave the hall but asked to wait as they were working on the system. When the third batch was called in, we started protesting; asking why they called three batches when the system was not working.
“They forced the children to sign in and out, meaning that you have entered for the exams and you have written the exams.
“After the third batch came out with the same report, the management of the centre called in SARS to secure the facility. They said they don’t want the centre to be blackmailed.
“We are here again today and the problem persists. We appeal to JAMB to reschedule exams for this centre or we will take a legal action against JAMB because we have business with JAMB and not with the management of this centre,” he stated.
However, an official at the Universal White Hall College, Fagba, Lagos State, Barrister Ogedengbe Alexander, said the introduction of biometrics verification by the JAMB was highly innovative and a great improvement from what obtained in the past.
He said the ‘no biometrics, no examination’ rule by the board was better than the previous arrangements.
“We started writing JAMB in this centre since 2013. The exam this year has been very smooth, timely and all the JAMB officials sent here know their job. We really appreciate them because they made the job easier by keeping to time and keeping to the rules,” he said.
On the issue of examination malpractice, he said no single case was recorded, noting that the candidates were orderly.
A candidate, Adetutu Adekunle, who wrote her exam last week Thursday, said she was delayed for more than two hours before writing her exams.
At Galbatar College at Oyemekun, Ogba, Taiwo Akinsaya, expressed disappointment in the timing, saying his exam was scheduled for 1.30pm on Monday, April 15, 2019 but thumb verification had not started as at 12.14pm. “It’s discouraging,” he said.
Exam processes so far successful –JAMB
Meanwhile, JAMB’s Head of Media and Publicity Dr Fabian Benjamin told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Bwari, Abuja, that as of April 13, over 1.2 million have successfully written the examination scheduled to end April 17.
Over 1.8 million candidates are expected to sit for the board’s UTME that commenced nationwide on April 11.
Benjamin said the process of the examination has so far been successful, adding that the board was addressing some of the challenges that came up during the exercise.
He also said that the board was still investigating those who were unable to be verified through its biometric process and would come out with a stand on the matter.
Speaking also on the issue of results, Benjamin said that no results have been released yet.
He said the board was still screening the results as the examination was ongoing and also because more fraudulent activities were being identified in the process.
He said: “We have to keep screening these results because there are lots of issues we discovered like multiple registrations, impersonation and the likes, so we are still fishing them out.
“Some have been arrested and those yet to be arrested, we have their records, we will fish then out. However, candidates should expect their results very soon.”
He added that the board’s suspension of some CBT centres nationwide has not affected the candidates, adding that adequate examination centres was provided to all who registered for the examination.
‘50 professional exam writers arrested’
The board in its weekly Bulletin of the Office of the Registrar for April 15 said it uncovered and arrested ‘Professional Examination Writers’ who write examination for candidates for a fee.
According to the bulletin, 50 of such fraudulent persons were apprehended in centres across the country as a result of various intelligence gathering.
The bulletin also said that the board suspended 49 CBT centres from participating in the ongoing exercise.
The suspended centres which are spread across the country were suspended for failing to live up to expectations in ensuring a seamless examination.
30 of the exam centres were suspended during the start of the exam on April 11, while the other 19 were blacklisted during the registration’s exercise; 10 of the centres are located in the FCT.
Dear Esteemed reader,
As part of our drive to keep improving the content of our newspaper, we are conducting a readership survey to enable us serve you better.
Kindly take two minutes of your time to fill in this questionnaire.
Thank you for your time. Click here to begin