By Taiwo Okanlawon
No doubt that 2017 registration process for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, administered by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB was marred with many irregularities ranging from reduction of registration centres, missing registration numbers, switching from scratch cards to pin, and many others.
The total overhauling of the registration process and examination of the previous administration which led to the removal of Prof Dibu Ojerinde was nothing to write home about from bordering on result multiplicity, centre relocation and system failure. Concerned students protested that the irregularities of the exercise underscored their gaining admission that year, that the board was unprepared for the CBT it adopted three years ago.
As a journalist, and from my active acquisition of information from primary sources, the introduction of different registration procedures are the major causes of the problems that these innocent students face.
This year, the registration for the UTME involves three stages, the creation of the candidate’s profile on the JAMB website, the payment of the registration fee at a bank, and registration for the exam at a Computer Based Test Centre or a JAMB-approved cyber cafe.
The registration is something any candidate can/should do on his/her own in a jiffy but the board made it a cumbersome task, making candidates wasting precious time and over spending trying to register for days and even weeks.
In my observations from different centres in Lagos and all over the country as it was reported in the news, the complains are always the same, ranging from poor network, power failure and lack of experts or not enough manpower at cyber cafes and CBT centers. These problems have caused many of the candidates to spend more than what they are expected to spend trying to seat for an examination.
These candidates were subjected to wait under scorching sun for days to register for what they paid for and are faced with not only Network problems alone, but also with banks and CBT Centres were overcrowded with long lines, due partly to poor internet connectivity and partly to inadequate manpower, were too few people to attend to hundreds and hundreds of applicants.
To make the matter worse, the board cancelled the MOCK UTME exams which was suppose to serve as a test and prepare the candidates for the newly introduced exam platform. How can we ensure that the candidates prepare well for the examinations when they spend weeks waiting for PIN and are at the mercy of registration officers who force them to go to cyber cafes?”
Many candidates including those who are yet to complete their registrations endured and showed up on Saturday, April 7, 2017, at the various CBT Centres for the Mock UTME exams. Disappointment took over their face after the cancellation of the exams, after many candidates had spent hours at the CBT Centres.
JAMB put the blame on technical partners. Was the platform for the exams not tested before the mock exam date. At the end of the day, JAMB had to postpone the mock exam indefinitely and extend the registration deadline from April 19 to May 5, 2017. Furthermore, the UTME exam was shifted from May 6-13 to May 13-20, 2017.
One can only say that the failures witnessed in the registration process so far as well as the mock exam failure show how unprepared the JAMB, as well as its partners. JAMB is to be blamed the most.
Many have asked that Why will anybody make life difficult for candidates whose parents are struggling to live under the terrible condition the government has made them to live in? Why would somebody introduce changes that are only known by the members of the board, that is if some even know?
I hope, since the mock examinations was intended to familiarise the candidates with the Computer-Based Test systems and generally forecast the challenges that may surface in order to proactively address them, JAMB has noted the challenges that surfaced and it won’t happen during the UTME exams.
The average money a candidate will spend on the registration is nothing less than #8,000 with transportation to the accreditation centres. After paying #6,500 as against #2,000 proposed by the National Assembly.
If we are making use of technology in almost all our activities and with the level of its advancement, why can’t any student register on his/her own. I wonder why I can’t seat in the comfort of my room and complete the whole registration on my laptop or Smartphone. I should be able to create my account and make necessary corrections on my profile by myself as well as make the payment instead of going to bank or NIPOST.
On this part, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede and his board members failed woefully and he’s trailing the same part his predecessor was during the last examination. This process should be simple, easy and stress free if necessary consultations were done and necessary facilities were put in place.
The JAMB however, did something dramatic while announcing the total number of the candidates registered for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). According to JAMB which says it made the total sum #8.5billion from 1.7 million candidates!
What’s the euphoria about? Is that the board’s achievement or that should its priority? I don’t know if this board has become a business entity. I really don’t think the money was made due to your effectiveness but the number of the candidate seeking admission into various institutions increase.
Obviously, the registration procedures were marred with a lot of irregularities. Then if the registration process is like this, then one can only imagine how awful the examination itself will be if care has not been taken.
On this final note, like the board stated that it is determined to make a change with this examination as it’s aware of the strategic role the examination plays in deciding the direction of tertiary education in Nigeria and appeal for required support from us all.
The support we are rendering to you now is that we hope you have noted the setbacks the registration caused, the mock exams and you have made necessary adjustment ahead of the exams that is schedule to kick start on the 13th of this month? If truly you are determined to make the change, let the exam be stress free.