Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Irregularities mar Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Written by kunle Awosiyan, Lagos Clement Idoko, Abuja and Kehinde Adio

The conduct of the newly introduced Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination was marred with high degree of mismatch of candidates’ subject combination on Saturday.

Our correspondent who monitored the examination in some parts of Lagos observed a high degree of subjects’ mismatch, which threw the candidates into critical state of worry and anxiety.

The centres visited included, the University of Lagos , Akoka, Yaba College of Technology, Babs Fafunwa Millennium Grammar School and Omole Senior High School.

According to a candidate who identified herself as Miss Tomi Dedire, most candidates could not access their subjects’ combination. She said, “I have registered to study Medicine with subject combination of Biology, Physics and Chemistry, but it is unfortunate that I found Mathematics in place of Physics. I preferred writing Physics to Mathematics.”

She explained that the subjects’ combination that was later given to her could only be suitable for an engineering course rather than medicine. “I never bargained for this,” she lamented.

It was also observed that most candidates could not locate their examination centres as they ran from one venue to the other in search of their names.

Another candidate, Master Sulaimon Ayinde, told Sunday Tribune that JAMB had placed him at UNILAG to write the examination but he  did not find his name at the centre.

He told Sunday Tribune that the invigilator did not allow him to enter the examination hall because his name was not on the master list.

However, for Mr. Babajide Abe who wrote the examination at Babs Fafunwa Millennium Grammar School , Ojodu, the rate of subjects’ mismatch was not very high but he lamented the poor quality of the calculators supplied by JAMB.

He said, “few of us had problems with subject combinations but invigilators refused to allow us to bring in our own writing materials like pencils and calculator. Well I have done my best. JAMB should find a way of addressing the anomaly before it releases the results.

Reacting to the various anomalies, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Professor Oladapo Afolabi who also monitored the examination at UNILAG confirmed changes in examination centres, but said it had been resolved.

“Some candidates did not know that there were changes of centres so they had to rush here,  it was really a problem of anxiety and stress but those candidates have calmed down,” he said.

He also agreed that there were series of subjects’ mismatch, which he stated had since been addressed. “We also saw some degree of mismatch of subject combination of candidates choices and the paper script presented to them. We have resolved that quickly and all candidates have their correct subject combination without any deprivation in terms of time, anxiety or emotion, they were happy about this and even clapped”.

Speaking generally about the conduct of the examination, Afolabi said that it was fair and peaceful, adding that any candidate for the maiden edition of UTME should count himself lucky.

He said, “Well I must say that the general atmosphere at the examination centres is fair. Any candidate who presented him or herself here should actually consider it as an opportunity to take a fair and just examination. The sitting arrangement did not allow for cheating.

In another development, candidates who came from Lagos State to write the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) on Saturday in Ibadan, were disappointed, as majority of them could not sit for the examination due to their lateness.

According to Sunday Tribune’s investigation, in some centres, many of them arrived two hours after the examination had started, hence they could not write the examination, in spite of their pleading.

In other centres, some of them arrived an hour later, though they were allowed to write the examination with the condition that they would not be given extra time.

St. Gabriel Senior High School, Mokola, Ibadan, one of the examination centres in the state, was dominated by Lagos people, and Sunday Tribune gathered that majority of them slept in the school on Friday, so as  to write the examination on Saturday.

Some of the supervisors who spoke with Sunday Tribune on this year’s UTME examination, condemned the idea of candidates coming from one state to sit for the examination in another state. According  to them, there should be enough centres in all states in the country.

Mr. Joshua Arinoola one of the supervisors in Oyo State, appealed to JAMB to create more centres for Lagos candidates.

According to him, they had been constituting nuisance in Oyo State, as they would arrive late to examination centres and yet they would want to write the exam, which he described as impossible.

‘’We understand their plight that once they miss the examination, they will have to wait for another year. But there is nothing an invigilator can do to help a candidate who arrived late to exam hall,’’ he said.

Aside this development, everything went well in many of the centres Sunday Tribune visited during the examination  period,   though some phones were confiscated from some candidates.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Saturday announced plans to convene a special National Examination Summit as part of the initiative to raise the integrity of the examinations conducted by public examinations bodies as well as institutions in the country.

Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufai, who dropped this hint in Abuja, while monitoring the conduct of the maiden Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), conducted nationwide by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), frowned at the high level of examination frauds committed by both students in schools and candidates during public examinations.

She also revealed that plans were already on to standardise and ensure uniformity of the conduct of Post-UME, now Post-UTME by all tertiary institutions to reflect the present structure of UTME that allows candidates for multiple choice of institutions.

But the JAMB Registrar and Chief Executive, Professor Dibu Ojerinde, described the Post-UME as a mistake, saying, “It seems to me that the post UME may be tautological and redundant, but as of now, government says that there must be post UME .

“You see we have made a mistake of bringing in the Post-UME. Nobody can just wake up and stop it easily until everybody is convinced that the job that is going on in JAMB is ok.

The registrar and chief executive of JAMB described as unfortunate the exorbitant fees charged by various institutions, which have refused to abide by the federal government rule that the post- UME charges must not exceed N1000. Some charge as high as N20, 000, he explained.

However, the summit, according to the minister would provide opportunity on how to address the whole lot of issues bothering on the conduct of examinations by National Examination Council (NECO), JAMB and West African Examinations Council (WAEC) among others, stressing that candidates now prepare to cheat in examinations rather than prepare for it.

This factor, she said largely contributed to the poor quality of graduates and decline in the general performance of students in schools.

This, according to her, would prevent the economic wastages as well as forestall a situation where candidates would be forced to pass through the Post-UTME in all the six institutions of their choices.

The minister, who was at the Model Secondary School , Maitama, Abuja , as early as 8.05 a.m. to supervise the sitting arrangements for the examination before its commencement at 9.00 a.m. counseled the students against cheating.

As early as 7.00 a.m. candidates were frisked and thoroughly screened with the hand-held scanners acquired by JAMB for the conduct of the examination to curb the incidence of use of mobile phones as well as other communication gadgets in the examination halls to cheat.

In a bid to fight against examination malpractice and to ensure credibility of the examination, the Board had acquired 5,100 hand-held scanners and metal detectors to screen candidates during the examination.

A total of 1,375,642 candidates registered for the examination, showing a decrease of 149,696 candidates when compared with last year’s figure of 1,525,338 for both Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) and Monotechnics, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Matriculation Examination (MPCEME).

The examination was held in all the 2,705 centres and simultaneously in 321 examination towns in Nigeria and six foreign centres namely: Accra in Ghana, Duea in Republic of Cameroon , Cotonou in Republic of Benin , London in United Kingdom, Jeddah in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Johannesburg in South Africa .

The UTME examination centres were manned by security personnel’s from Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and officials from the ministry of education and its parastatals, the media as well as independent observers.


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