By Elizabeth Osayande
A week into the conduct of the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, many parents and their wards raised concern over the preparedness of the Board to conduct the examinations.
With over 1.9 million registered candidates, as against the 2019 figure of over 1.8 million candidates; the Board made some drastic changes this year.
One of them was the decision to change the mode of checking results of candidates on the Board’s portal, to the use of candidates’ phones.
Also, the rescheduling of the examination in Rivers State and the last minute shifting of blind candidates’ examination to last Saturday among others.
Spokesperson of JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, while noting that the current figure of registered candidates was the highest in the history of the Board, stated that a total of 160, 640 candidates registered for Direct Entry, while over 600 Computer-Based Test centres were used nationwide.
However, many people still wondered when JAMB would master the art of conducting a hitch-free examination given the promise made by Dr. Benjamin who after the release of the results of 312,000 candidates who sat for examination on the first day, promised a great performance.
But, the shutting down of JAMB’s result checker made null and void the promise. While some candidates raised the alarm of their released results being tampered with, another group of candidates said they could not access their results after Monday’s examination.
The worries of candidates and parents heightened when JAMB neither affirmed nor refuted the claim of tampered results early enough. It was some days later that the Board’s image maker sent a release claiming that no result was tampered with and that their portal was truly shutdown due to attempts by fraudsters to manipulate the results.
Benjamin’s statement read: “JAMB has not cancelled the results of its examination conducted on Saturday, March 14, Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Therefore, candidates should disregard rumours making the rounds that the results have been cancelled. To check their results, candidates are to send ‘RESULT’ to 55019 and not on the Board’s website.
“The results of the first day were placed on the website and some fraudulent individuals were copying and manipulating them to deceive unsuspecting candidates hence our decision to move it to the mobile platform for candidates to use their unique phone numbers used in registering for the examination to access their results.”
While the Board, might have rectified the issue of manipulation of results, some candidates lamented the huge amounts they spend in checking their results. Mrs Joyce Adeniyi said her son spent over N500 in checking his JAMB result before it was eventually released.
Her words: “Why is it that we must suffer before getting things done? My son who took his exams on Tuesday saw his results on Friday.
“This is after he has spent over N500 on SMS to the code. Every time one sends a request for result, N50 is deducted from his account,” she said.
Olujobi Ahmed in a tweet called for the scrapping of JAMB. He tweeted, “Education is said to be the bedrock of a nation but in Nigeria education is more of a threat to our physical state of mind. Education is nothing to write home about in Nigeria. Moreover, what’s the essence of students partaking in writing unified tertiary matriculation examination?
“The board is incompetent whenever it comes to setting up exams, allocating centres, server problems in different halls, most especially giving wrong scores to candidates who participated in the first batch and those who truly prepared so hard for the examination.
“In conclusion JAMB should be scrapped because of its incompetence and uselessness. Applying to Institutions can be done online free and the Institution would be notified immediately. Students would only have to prepare for the school’s examination,” he said.
After all, JAMB deserves kudos
Despite the hitches that trailed the conduct of the examination, some people still believe the Board deserves some accolades. One of the areas they pointed to was the release of the results of candidates within 48 hours. A record that has not been achieved before by the Board.
Obinna Njoku, a candidate who has written the exam four times, told Vanguard that he had not had it so good before. His words:
“I have never experienced a hitch-free JAMB before in my four years of writing the examination. I did my own on Monday and got my results on Wednesday. This coupled with the fact that the computers at my centres all worked well,” he said.
Another commendable efforts of JAMB is the health readiness of the Board against the Coronavirus. Before the commencement of the exercise, the Board, provided hand gloves and hand sanitisers for the 1.9 million candidates.
Again, the conduct of the UTME for 341 blind candidates in 12 centres across the country went on well.
The Board through the JAMB Equal Opportunity Group, JEOG, made adequate provisions for the candidates. The chairman, JEOG, Prof. Peter Okebukola, while briefing journalists on the conduct of the examination at Lagos centre, the University of Lagos, UNILAG, had this to say.
”In 2019, out of 390 blind candidates that sat for JAMB, a total of 175 that amounted to 44. 8 percent were given admission, an unprecedented record in the history of the examination, thanks to Prof. Oloyede. This year, 341 candidates are involved in the exercise.
“In the interest of bringing the venue of the examination closer to the candidates, and in response to precautionary measures against Coronavirus, especially in limiting the number of candidates that congregate at a time, JAMB Registrar approved the tripling of centres from four in 2019 to 12. This is a humanitarian gesture as JAMB took full responsibility for hostel and feeding of the candidates. In addition, to paying generous transport supplementation.”