BY AMAKA ABAYOMI & LAJU ARENYEKA
There are high expectations from the over 1.5 million candidates who will troop to the over 3,100 examination centres to write what could be the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) in the history of Nigerian education, this Saturday, April 27.
If the Oronsaye report, which advocates that the powers of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) be divested and universities be solely charged with candidates’ entrance exams, these students will make an unprecedented mark in JAMB’s 36-year-old history.
Recall that the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, directed the Board to suspend its newly introduced computer-based test (CBT) for the 2013 UTME scheduled to have held on Saturday, April 20.
Instead, the lawmakers asked JAMB to revert to its paper and pencil-based examinations, citing inadequate sensitisation and preparation, as well as lack of necessary infrastructure in secondary schools as reasons for arriving at the decision.
To this end, the House equally summoned the Minister of Education, Professor Rukayyatu Rufa’i and the Registrar of JAMB, Professor Dibu Ojerinde, to provide explanations on what it tagged, “policy somersault” in view of the CBT introduced by the board.
To ensure a hitch-free exam, the Board has enlisted the services of security operatives such as Civil Defense Corps, the Police and some private security operatives, while some independent watch groups made up of Vice-Chancellors, Rectors, Provosts, among others, would be on hand to monitor events.
With over 122 universities, Vanguard Learning got a mixture of responses when the candidates revealed that they are ready to go to any length to ensure that they are among those who are considered for the limited admission spaces into institutions of learning.
Chiyere Ijioma is reading extra hard and has embarked on reading till daybreak to ensure that she scores high points. “Everything is behind me and my studies have taken center-place because I don’t want to cheat to pass.”
Idowu Oreoluwa who wants to study Food Science and Technology and is in favour of scrapping the exam body, failing UTME doesn’t mean the person is not intelligent.
“I am preparing very hard by attending lessons and reading on my own because I passed my WAEC and really want to be admitted this time around.”
For Firminus Idenyi, who opined that scrapping UTME would put financially handicapped students in a disadvantaged position said; “Preparations are being taken seriously to ensure that I gain admission this year. I don’t intend to cheat because the consequences are dire and I don’t want to waste all my family has spent on my education.”
For Bukola King, a second timer, perfecting her timing would mean being a step closer to gaining admission this year. “I would improve on all the subjects I did last year. Though I’m prepared, and my plan is to improve on my timing as I didn’t finish the questions last year and that affected my aggregate score.”
Calling on students to shun all forms of exam malpractice, a tutorial center coordinator, Mr. Joseph Ajibola, urged them to put in their best and be hopeful for admission.
“The truth is that it is not all students tat sit for the exams are offered admission, but hope is not lost as those that can afford it can go to neighbouring countries to further their education.