January 31, 2013

UTME: Beware of unapproved cybercafes, JAMB warns applicants

Essay competition

File Photo: Cross section of students writing exam


Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB has warned students who are applying for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, slated for April 27, 2013 to register only at cybercafes accredited by the board.

JAMB Executive Registrar, Professor Dibu Ojerinde who gave this warning at a media briefing in Lagos disclosed that between November last year and January 2013, one million and one hundred students have registered for the examination.

He said out of this number, only 4,000 candidates have registered for the Computer-Based Test, CBT, thereby dismissing insinuations that students could not register online because of conjectures.

According to him, “students should only register at cybercafes that are accredited by JAMB. We did this because of the cheating tendency of some of these cybercafe operators who collect money from students and never register them appropriately, especially those who drop their data with them and go home to collect confirmation slips the next day. If you go to any cybercafe for registration, please ask if the cybercafe is accredited by JAMB. If they say yes, ask them their code. Students who have problems with their registration may be because the cybercafes they patronised are not accredited by JAMB because if they do not have our code, they can’t access our website.

File Photo: Cross section of students writing exam

File Photo: Cross section of students writing exam

“Secondly, it depends on the band the cybercafes are using. If a cybercafe is using a band with other people, it may experience difficulty in accessing some websites. That is why such cybercafe’s speed increases at night when their narrow band is decongested. Cybercafes are part of our problems as they have in time past given female name to male and also misspelled people’s names. However, JAMB band width expands on demand as we have catered for this.”

The registrar disclosed that while those who registered for paper-pencil test will sit for their examinations on 27th April, those who registered for computer-based test will have theirs on 23rd, 24th and 25th adding “If any student does not sit for the examination in any of these days, he will have himself to blame.”

He hinted that some students who do not register on time might be forced to take their examinations through CBT when all centres for PPT are occupied, noting, “Among the one million and one hundred candidates that have registered so far, about 999,000 have registered for PPT, while the rest registered for CBT.”

He said, the provision JAMB made for CBT this year is 150,000 stressing that by the time those spaces are exhausted, other candidates will be forced to go for PPT and by time we exhaust the spaces in PPT, others will be forced to go for CBT.

Ojerinde who pointed out that a total of 77 centres have been secured for the examinations, disclosed that these are higher institutions that have the facilities for the UTME Computer-Based Test.

For the PPT, he said; “It is dual. We will give you the question on the screen and you answer it on the paper and the paper-pencil test which is the traditional one

that in the developed world, some students snap questions on the screen, but a device has been employed to counter this. We are using the principle of Item Response Theory (IRT). The  IRT guards against guessing tendencies. When two students sit for chemistry, question one of candidate ‘A’ is not the same question one for candidate ‘B’. In a centre where we have 350 candidates, we shall not have less than five invigilators mostly from our office.”

In case of electricity failure, Ojerinde maintained that Uninterrupted Power Supply, generators and back-ups have been put in place saying that within three and half hours of the examinations, it is not likely that all of the plan ‘ B’ will fail.

The professor who said that the quest to bring back the reading culture of our youths, spurred him to  introduce two compulsory novels to be read by UTME candidates, insisting that the two novels (Successor and the Potters Wheel) introduced last year, is a must for every candidate this April  examination irrespective of their disciplines, reiterating that 20 questions will be drawn from the novels.

Asked why questions were not set from the novels last JAMB, he explained that there was a mix up somewhere along the line that made JAMB postpone it to the April examinations.

His words; “Some people argued that the people in the village will not be able to do CBT saying that they have not used a computer before. But I said to myself that if they can use the handset, they can also do the computer-based test. If they can send text messages via handset, they can use the CBT. The earlier they start getting used to it as they cannot escape it in their post-UTME, the better.

“During the examinations, we give ten minutes to each student to read through the piece of information before attempting the questions. Whether we like it or not, the world is changing, and technology is the answer. Students are advised to visit JAMBwebsite; to practise past questions free of charge.”