The conduct of the recent Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in some states has not amused candidates or their parents.
Exam encounters hitches in Bauchi
Findings by our reporter in Bauchi revealed that many candidates missed the examination particularly at a center located at Oxford Science Academy in Bauchi metropolis. The candidates complained bitterly over what they described as official negligence which caused them serious hardships.
When our reporter visited the JAMB office in Bauchi metropolis, many parents and their children came with various complaints. A parent, Mustapha A.A Abubakar, whose son, Nazif Al-Mustapha, missed the examination, expressed disappointment with JAMB over the development.
“What brought me here is that my son was sent to a center and when he went there on Saturday, he was told to come back on Monday and that an SMS would be sent to him with details. We waited for the SMS, but till Monday he didn’t received the SMS.
“So, the following day, he went back to the center and he was told that the examination had already been conducted. That is why I came here to know what happened and the fate of my child,”he said.
He lamented that despite his plea, officials at the JAMB office informed him that the issue was beyond thier control as there was nothing they could do except their headquarters in Abuja.
Another parent, Yusuf Sambo who accompanied his son, Abdullahi Yusuf Sambo who also missed the examination at Oxford Science Academy center, threatened that as parents, they would protest JAMB’s complicity in denying their children the right to write the examination.
“My son registered to write JAMB examination and he has scaled through everything only to be disappointed at the last minute. He missed the examination because of some unexplained reasons. He was posted to Oxford Academy and his slip number was 132.
“He left home for the center by 6:00am and waited until the time of the examination. People were called by their numbers and after they called 200 people, they were told that the examination hall was filled up as it’s capacity was only 200.
“They left the center and came here, the JAMB office and complained. They were told to submit a reprint of their slips and telephone numbers and we were told to wait for an SMS. That was last Friday. They were told that another date and centre would be provided for them to write the examination.
“My child waited till Monday and I called him and asked but he said he hadn’t received any SMS. I told him to go back to the JAMB office the next day to know what went wrong. When he came to the JAMB office, he was told to go back to the center but he was told to bring a print out of his email and at the time, it was already after 10:00am,”he said.
He blamed the examination body for what happened as most of the candidates including his child did not receive the said SMS.
Other parents who were visibly angry also threatened that whoever was responsible for their children’s failure to write the examination must be held responsible because they would collectively petition relevant authorities on the matter.
On their part, the candidates expressed disappointment with the treatment meted out to them.
One of the candidates, Gaius Adamu, said he failed to write the examination because no SMS was sent to him as claimed by JAMB officials.
“I registered to write the examination this year in Bauchi. I was told to reprint my slip which I did and was sent to Oxford Science Academy center on Gombe Road. My examination was supposed to be on April 12. I went there and waited. The examination started late. We joined the queue around 11:00 am. So, anybody whose number was beyond 200 was told to go out of the queue and wait and my number was 234.
“We were later told by the administration officer that there was a problem because the center had only 200 computers as such it could not accommodate more than 200 candidates. He told us to go back home and an SMS would be sent to us to come back and write our exams because they would be available till Friday.”
He disclosed that they waited for the SMS to no avail and they decided to go to the JAMB office.
Another candidate, Abubakar Bala Galda who also alongside his other friends missed the examination at Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic (ATAP) center said their thumbprints were rejected and they were told to submit their slips and come back later.
“Most of the people left without submitting their slips and I was among them. Others whose slips were collected were brought to the JAMB office since last Friday. We have been coming here to submit our slips but the officials have refused to collect or attend to us.
“An official even told us to meet some powerful politicians to intervene on our behalf. We met a politician on the matter and he said that a politician had nothing to do with the issue of JAMB. We met another influential person who promised to help, but he told us to come back here and plead with the officials to collect our slips and help us write the examination. We came here yesterday and today they are telling us that there is nothing they can do to us, we have missed this year’s exam,”he added.
Speaking to our reporter, the Bauchi State JAMB Coordinator, Usman Sabo Zage, said they conducted the examination in 12 centers across the state. According to him, 10 of the 12 centers were located in Bauchi zone while two zones were located in the northern zone.
Sabo added that the 10 centers in Bauchi concluded their examinations on April 15 with the exception of Oxford which conducted it’s examination on April 16.
He noted that the two centers at Bauchi State University Gadau and Azare would conclude theirs on April 18.
He acknowledged that the Bauchi State office had no power to change things as their national headquarters had assigned people outside their jurisdiction to handle the examinations.
According to him, the center officers, the state technical officer as well as the state examination officers received their directives from the JAMB national headquarters.
Findings by our reporter revealed that The Bauchi State JAMB Technical Officer is a Professor at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi while the State Examination officer is the Vice Chancellor, Bauchi State University (BSU), Professor Auwalu Uba.
Calls to Professor Auwalu Uba did not go through as it was said to be unreachable at the time of filing this report.
Candidates grumble over delay, fingerprint capturing
In Jigawa, Daily Trust gathered that there was problem of late commencement of the Computer Base Tests (CBT) in most centers.
In most of the centers, the examination started an hour or more behind schedule.
In some centers, candidates encountered the problem of capturing bio-data as the system was slow in recognizing the finger prints of most of the candidates.
At the Machanic Village CBT center in Dutse, the exercise was smooth, apart from the electrical fault which tripped off the systems at different intervals.
A candidate who identified himself as Aminu told this reporter that in his center at Federal University Dutse (FUD), the examination was conducted smoothly, though it did not start as scheduled.
According to him, his batch was told that their examination would start by 1:30pm but they could not be in the hall untill 3pm.
He added that the commencement behind schedule was not the only problem as capturing their fingerprints also became another impediment.
“We just sat at the corner grumbling while waiting for them. After an hour, we were called in for the examination. But screening of candidates through capturing of finger prints was a headache. A lot of time was wasted in the course of bio-data capturing,” he said.
Maryam Mohammed Uba, another candidate, also complained of the commencement time of the examination, apart from the constant tripping off of the systems.
“Our systems went blank about three times. Besides the late commencement of the examination, there was no any other problem through out the period of the examination.
“We were seriously warned against any form of cheating during the examination and I think because of that there was no any reported case of malpractice.”
Tahir Ibrahim who sat for the examination along Yalwawa Road in Dutse, said at their center there was no problem apart from delay in fingerprint capturing.