Out of the 258,000 candidates that applied for the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME mock examination, only 211,000 candidates took part in the test on Monday, the JAMB registrar, Ishaq Oloyede, has said.
This was due to insufficient space to accommodate interested students in some of the computer-based centres across the nation.
However, the registrar, while inspecting the Blue Ocean Technology centre and Veritas University centre in Abuja on Monday told journalists that he was satisfied with the level of preparedness he noticed.
Mr. Oloyede said the board is aware of the challenges of lack of even spread of facilities in some states. He urged indigenes from such areas to establish a computer-based centre there.
“It is not that we cannot have more candidates but the spread that the candidates chose (is a challenge). For instance, if you are taking candidates that chose Pankshin as their centre, the examination will last for three days so we chose the one on ground. But there are enough spaces in Ibadan, Lagos, Oyo but you can’t move these candidates from Plateau State to these parts that have vacancies. So, its better to pick what a town can accommodate, so we have apologised to the students,” he said.
Mr. Oloyede said out of the 602 centres being used, only six of the centres had challenges.
“Although we are inspecting and monitoring the examination across the country, we had issues in Obafemi Awolowo University. Our exams have not been able to start and we have given the authorities one hour. If the problem is not solved, we will relocate our candidates elsewhere. We have an issue with a centre in Plateau state. In Taraba state, there was a crash of laptops. In Olabisi Onabanjo University and Nnamdi Azikwe University, the problem of the digital centres have been solved,” he said.
He added, “We have made provision for ‘option B’, that is why the candidates have their emails. They will receive an email changing them to another centre. Last year, it happened in LAUTECH and since it has happened there, the institution cannot be allowed to take our examination as long as I am the registrar of JAMB. Let them close their gate and we go elsewhere. Once we are unable to conduct examination in a particular centre, we go elsewhere, If you want to kill your institution because you have internal problem, go ahead and kill it.”
The registrar said there would not be ‘mop-up’ for candidates noting that ”its either the candidates write the exam or do not do the exam”.
“The board has put certain things in place to ensure effective monitoring of every candidate and also ensure good network for the candidates. Network in this term does not mean MTN, Airtel or Glo. It simply means the Local Area Network which is the cable within the centre. We do not conduct our examination on the internet so when we say there is a network problem, it is a cabling problem within the centre and not outside the hall,” he said.
The registrar said the board will ”only pay for sucessful candidates” noting that if any of the centres’ system logs any candidates out, ”the centres money will also be logged out.”
He also spoke about other challenges observed in the centres.
“For the private CBT centres, we have discovered they cut corners so that we can pay them. For instance, if we have 250,000 candidates writing the exam and 40,000 are logged out, we pay for the 40,000 that was logged out but this year, we will only pay for candidates who are absent because we must pay when candidates are absent, that is not your fault.”
Similarly, Mr. Oloyede urged the parents to keep away from the examination centres.
“We are not in the kindargaten, we are preparing these young minds for university education. The parents come too much around because they want their wards to pass at all cost, it is not helpful,” he said.
One of the centres where students were not able to write the examination was at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
The OAU spokesperson, Abiodun Olarewaju, told our correspondent on Monday evening that the institution is trying to resolve the issue that led to the candidates not being able to write their examination.
“Everybody is trying come to the negotiating table to find a common ground and resolve the issue . The candidates could not finish but we are trying to resolve it. We are still at the meeting now,” Mr. Olanrewaju explained.
Meanwhile Adekunle Imran, a parent of one of the candidates, said the mock examination is meant to prepare the students for what they should expect in the main examination.
However, Mr. Imran said the board needs to create methods to assist the students in the preparation process.
“In Nigeria, we have good policies but our problem is implementation. This set of students you see on queue were supposed to have finished their exam now because they are the second batch who were to start their examination by 9.00 a.m. but this is 10:25 a.m. and they are just on the queue now for the first capturing of their identity. I understand that the first set of candidates are not done and students were told to be at the centre an hour before the examination,” Mr. Imran said.
He urged the board to adopt a system whereby the students can be captured while seated, writing the examination.
The board has fixed March 9 to 17 for the 2018 UTME.