How IPOB, System Failure, Bad Weather Nearly Marred 2022 UTME, by Halimat O. Shittu
Barely four days into the week-long Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, for the year 2022, many challenges seemed to have encumbered the smooth conduct of the exercise.
The Computer-Based Test, CBT, conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board, JAMB, is an entrance examination into the tertiary-level institutions in the country.
In this year, the board registered more than 1.7 million candidates for the examination which is scheduled to run from May 6 to May 14 across 755 registered CBT centres nationwide.
Barely four days after the commencement of the examination, many candidates have reported many challenges, including their inability to sit for the exams due to varying factors like bad weather, power failure, incomplete questions, failure of the biometric capturing machine and other technical hitches.
For example, many candidates in Lagos battled an early morning downpour, barring them from sitting for the exams.
According to reports, those affected by the rain were the candidates scheduled to sit their examination by 7 a.m. who claimed that they suffered difficulties in accessing their centres due to flooding and traffic gridlock.
One of the centre supervisors at the WTTC who did not want her name in print, told NAN that the examination began at exactly 8.30 a.m, stressing that that lateness to the examination centre was not allowed.
She said: “This examination commenced at 8:30 a.m. Even with the rain, I got here at about 5:30 a.m. and everything was set.
“All we needed for the commencement of the examination was in place.
“We were actually supposed to start the examination by 8.00 a.m. but because of the rain, we had to give 30 minutes’ grace.
“At least you can see the hall is almost filled to capacity. These ones too, came here early enough, despite the rain.
“We have over 240 candidates each, in both the centre one and two, out of the 250 capacity benchmark for each of these centres,” she added.
At the Tip-Top Schools, located on Unity Road, Isasi, a border community between Ogun and Lagos States, candidates said there were questions that were not accompanied by the expected passages.
A candidate, Aishat Olokojobi, with registration number; 202210321095EF and examination number C58102067, had told Premium Times that she experienced a challenge with the English Language subject.
Miss Olokojobi, who gave her seat number as 067, said she was part of those scheduled for 9 a.m. and that when they complained, the officials at the centre only told them to move on to other questions.
At the Ekiti State University, EKSU, Ado Ekiti, candidates could not sit for the examination due to technical difficulties with the biometric data capturing machines.
Addressing the affected candidates on the rescheduling of their examination, the JAMB official urged them to always check their profile portals for information on the new date.
“We have been working round the clock to ensure that the technical problem is resolved but as it is now, your examination will be rescheduled.
“Candidates for the second batch are already in the hall and they will be followed by the third batch. So I want to implore you to be patient and always check on your profile portals from now on for developments on the examination,” the official said.
In Enugu, most of the candidates were stranded, following the sit-at- home order imposed by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, every Monday in the South East.
It was gathered that the board had shifted the exam to May 10 due to Monday sit-at-home in the South-East, though many of the candidates were not aware of the cancellation.
A student who identified herself simply as Chigozie told NAN that JAMB would have informed them earlier about the change in the examination timetable than allowing them to take the risk of coming to the centre.
“It is risky to go out on Mondays in Enugu for fear of the unknown but here we are to write our CBT which did not hold. Personally I feel disappointed and stranded because my house is far from the centre.
“What can we do, we are going to come back tomorrow. Knowing it is risky to go out on Mondays in Enugu for fear of the unknown,” she lamented.
Reacting, the JAMB spokesman, Dr Fabian Benjamin, who is the board’s Head, Protocol and Public Affairs Officer, expressed sadness at the development.
He said: “It is unfortunate this has happened. However, technical consideration will not allow us to reschedule the examination.
“If for instance, something happened to a centre as a whole, or there is a technical collapse in a centre, that one is understandable and the board could start considering a way out of it.
“But a situation where some candidates for the examination at a specific schedule attempted the examination, while others failed to, for whatever reason, that examination will not be rescheduled.
“We do not reschedule examinations, it has come and gone. There are rules guiding all examinations; ours is not an exception,” Mr Benjamin added.