By Dayo Adesulu & Elizabeth Uwandu
It was mixed reactions among candidates that sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, last week, when the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, partly released results of the examination.
While many candidates whose results were released are rejoicing, other candidates who were denied registration described the JAMB Registrar’s action as harsh.
Vanguard, while monitoring the UTME observed that unlike previous years where candidates’ results were released immediately they left the examination hall, in this case, the results were released three days after.
Our source disclosed that the decision of JAMB not to release the results immediately was to enable Board go through its CCTV and identify those involved in examination malpractice.
Meanwhile, a visit by Vanguard to Sururele and Lawanson approved JAMB Computer-Based Test, CBT centres in Lagos State, showed students expressing delight as they trooped out from examination halls.
Better than 2017
According to Chioma Igwe who wrote her examination at Knowledge Ware Technology Limited, one of the approved CBT centres in Lawanson, this year’s UTME was better in all ramifications compared to last year’s, owing to the fact that the servers were functional. For her, the questions were much easier and the officials were more coordinated.
Her words: “If JAMB last year was close to this year’s examination in terms of functionality of the servers; the questions set and the conducive environment, I wouldn’t have failed.
“ This year’s JAMB is a huge success as my centre started on time and all the servers were working and the environment conducive. I even finished my questions before the stop time,“ said an elated Igwe.
Corroborating Igwe’s claim of the exam being hitch-free, 17- year-old Joshua Abayomi also of the same centre said: “ I was more at peace writing today’s JAMB as everything was on point, despite the calculations I did as a science student.
According to him, from the questions, to the conducive environment, all was great. I want to believe that if JAMB had always been conducted this way, we would have no complaints provided we, the candidates, prepare adequately,” he stressed.
Also, at Reliance S&T Limited, one of the registered approved JAMB CBT centres at Surulere, it was a success story.
Mrs Adebambo who brought her daughter to the centre said her daughter came out happy as she was able to complete her exam without disruption of the server compared to last year’s.
“You can see my daughter, she is very happy to do this JAMB as this server worked well and the questions very easy,” added the joyous mother.
Reacting to the acclaimed success of this year’s JAMB, Mr James Owolabi, one of the coordinators at KnowledgeWare centre said success of the examination was due to the over all coordination of the JAMB authorities and the obedience to laid down rules and regulations by the centres.
However, concerned parents whose children were denied the 2018 UTME registration because JAMB shut their portal early, lamented their wards’ denial to sit for the exams, adding that it would cost them another year.
Statistics show that in the 2017 UTME, a total of approximately 1,700,000 candidates took the exam, out of the 1,700,000 candidates, the combined admission capacity of all higher institutions in Nigeria could only admit approximately 700,000 candidates.
The above data implies that 1,000,000 candidates for the 2017 UTME were not admitted eventually.
Most of those candidates who scored above the JAMB stipulated admission cut-off of 120 were still hopeful of securing admission into one institution or the other up till January 25, when JAMB ordered all institutions to draw the curtain on their admission processes. Some institutions even went beyond that date, keeping some candidates hopeful beyond January 25.
The implication is that almost one million (1,000000) candidates only realised their hope of admission had been dashed by the last week in January.
This further implies that almost one million (1,000000) candidates who are still interested in tertiary education started rushing to get registered for the 2018 UTME by early February.
Barrister Moronfolu Adetunji, Mrs Adebowale Rukayat, Dr. Josephine Robert and Chief Emmanuel Eromosele in their reactions took a swipe at JAMB for closing its registration portal for the UTME 2018 on the 11th of February.
Adetunji said: ”Logically, about one million candidates had only 14 days to register for the examination. It would be the 8th or 9th wonder of the modern world if this can be achieved in Nigeria where UTME registration is restricted to only JAMB handpicked CBT centers that could not register 700,000 candidates in two months.
“It is then reasonable to say that so many aspiring candidates were denied the opportunity of registering as at the stipulated deadline. Their only sin is that they are Nigerians and they are therefore subjected to the whims and caprices of JAMB and its all-knowing and all-powerful registrar.
More pathetic is the case of those unfortunate candidates who by stroke of luck, were able to register before the deadline and were asked to get ready to take the exam by March 9, barely a month after realising they wouldn’t be admitted in the 2017 admission process. It is really a hell to be a Nigerian.
“Would they have been preparing to write another UTME in 2018 while still hoping to secure admission in the 2017 process? Is it then fair to subject them to another round of failure after collecting N6,200 from their impoverished parents?”
Reacting to the JAMB Registrar’s excuse, Dr Josephine Robert said: “Let us examine the excuse given by JAMB why it cannot postpone the exam:
They want admission processes to be concluded by August.
The question is “Is three months after UTME (June, July and August) not enough for the institutions to conclude admission processes, assuming UTME is written in May?
“Which other country of the world apart from Nigeria would candidates go blindly into the admission procedure? Why can’t institutions disclose their admission criteria even before registration for UTME in a given year so that candidates would know ab-initio whether to choose a particular school/course or not? Do we even know the institutions that would conduct post-UTME this year and those that wouldn’t? Why is it so difficult for JAMB to compel the schools to disclose their admission policies openly? Is it because JAMB is in cahoots with the tertiary institutions in fleecing the hapless candidates and their poor parents of their hard earned money? I pity the Nigerian candidates.
“Which other examination body forces candidates to pay heavily for every mistake made during registration, even before the deadline?
Why is JAMB alongside its registrar, bent on killing Nigerians financially on the altar of making money for government? Is JAMB now Nigerian Custom Service or Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)?
The Buhari administration is trying hard to put food on people’s table while JAMB is hell bent on taking the food away. It’s a shame that we can be this inconsiderate in this country.
“If we decide to stay silent on this mind-numbing issue simply because it doesn’t affect us today, who would cry for us and with us if it affects us tomorrow?”