All is set for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination being conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). It will kick-off tomorrow. BISI OLADELE, IBADAN, FRANK IKPEFAN, ABUJA, NWANOSIKE ONU, AWKA, OGOCHUKWU ANIOKE, ABAKALIKI, FUNMILAYO OJOYE-KEHINDE, LAGOS, KOLADE ADEYEMI, JOS, ABDULGAFAR ALABELEWE, KADUNA, TOBA ADEDEJI, OSOGBO and DUKU JOEL, DAMATURU, report.
About 1,837,011 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) candidates will begin jostling for the 500,000 admission spaces in public universities in the country from tomorrow. The examination, which is computer-based, will be conducted in 645 centres approved by JAMB nationwide. The examination will last for nine days (from May 6 to 14).
Of the 1,837,011 registered candidates, 1,769,197 registered for UTME and 100,153 registered for the direct entry examination.
Last year, the board registered 1,338,687 candidates for the UTME and 75,328 for direct entry.
Warning to candidates
For those sitting for the examination, the board has handed down rules that candidates should obey.
The board warned candidates against bringing electronic gadgets and other unauthorised materials like eyeglasses (unless recommended); USB, fez caps, calculator, tape recorder, camera, wristwatches, bangles, and cell phones, among others, into the examination hall.
It said these items remained banned in the examination hall during the conduct of the UTME.
The board said these through its Head, Public Affairs and Protocols (PAP), Dr. Fabian Benjamin.
Arrival at exam venues
The examination body admonished candidates to arrive at the venues of their examination one hour before its commencement. Benjamin said this would afford the candidates the opportunity to go through biometric verification prior to their admittance into the examination hall.
He warned that any candidate who is 30 minutes late into the examination venue would not be allowed to sit for the examination.
The JAMB spokesperson advised candidates to strictly adhere to the examination schedule as stated in their notification slips, which would be made available to them in due course and would feature the venue, scheduled date, session and time of the examination.
“All candidates are required to be seated only in the allotted seats assigned to them and should follow the instructions as issued out to them by the examination officials and should not attempt to leave the examination hall until one hour after the commencement of the examination,” he said.
Adhering strictly to examination etiquette
Benjamin reminded the prospective candidates of the need to adhere strictly to the examination etiquette, warning that a stiff penalty awaited anyone who ran afoul of the laid-down rules and regulations governing the examination. He reiterated the zero-tolerance of the board for examination infractions and other unwholesome practices that could undermine the sanctity of its examination.
He maintained that as a responsible organisation, the board was, as usual, committed to providing a level-playing field for all candidates in the upcoming UTME.
Benjamin said: “The board’s UTME, apart from being a medium for assessing candidates’ ability, is also used to rank their performance in a cohort of aspirants for tertiary education.”
The UTME, as a standardised test, is guided by rules and regulations that must be strictly followed by both the examiners and candidates to arrive at a valid and specific objective, he said.
He went on: “Examination etiquette is encapsulated in the candidates’ code of conduct comprising rules and regulations that must be followed by all candidates before, during and after the examination.”
Candidates and CBT centres preparation
The Nation’s correspondents visited some centres across the country to know the adequacy of preparation made by them, in terms of processes and criteria put in place for a safe and a well-equipped environment for candidates writing the exams.
100 NSCDC officers deployed for exam in Osun
Ahead of the test, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Osun State, has deployed over 100 officers across the CBT centres.
Its spokesperson, Olabisi Atanda, in an interview with The Nation, warned impostors to stay clear of the JAMB CBT centres in the state, vowing to deal with them legally.
She said: “We are deploying 100 officers and men. They are to guide against all forms of misconduct, impersonation and exam malpractices.
“No matter the antics employed by unscrupulous persons bent on frustrating the policies of the government and dispossessing Nigerians of their property, the long arms of the law would get at them and justice will be served.”
In an interview, a candidate, Faith Makinde, said: “I am a bit nervous because this is my first time of writing the exam but I am well-prepared to sit for the exam. I have been attending extra classes in preparation to sit for the exam.”
At some of the centres visited in Osogbo, Osun State capital, it was observed that the officials of the centres were putting the vicinity in order by cleaning and clearing the bushes around the area. Some of the places visited included the CBT centre at Service Area, Agunbelewo and Technical College along Capital area of Osogbo.
UI DLC, Amanda ready for UTME in Oyo
The University of Ibadan Distance Learning Centre (UIDLC), Ibadan, Oyo State, stated that it’s fully prepared for the UTME. Its Director, Prof. Emmanuel Omobowale, told The Nation that the centre was well-prepared for the examination, pointing out that JAMB had already inspected the centre.
He said: “We are prepared for the examinations. Everything is in place. There is no problem as regards UI DLC CBT. We have three halls of 500 capacity each, making our centre perhaps the largest around. In fact, we serve as a kind of back-up for JAMB because if there are issues with any other centre in Ibadan, JAMB moves the candidates to our centre. We are fully ready. Our centre is definitely the place to be when talking about CBT exams in Ibadan.”
At Amanda CBT Centre, Oluyole Ibadan, Oyo State, an official of the school, who said he was not authorised to speak because the proprietor was not around, said the centre was prepared for the examination. He added that their facilities were intact and ready for candidates to use.
He noted that the centre wouldn’t have been given permission by JAMB to conduct the examination, if they were not qualified.
He, however, said he could not speak on the total figure of candidates expected for the examination, saying that JAMB office was in the best position to speak on that.
Operators keep mum in Lagos
The Nation visited two accredited CBT centres at the Yaba and Onike.
On getting to the CBT centre at the Yaba College of Technology, our correspondents were directed to the office of the Director of CITM, who was said to be in charge of matters concerning the exams. The Nation was refused access to her on the ground that she was not available and that there was no prior appointment.
At The Human Development Initiatives CBT Centre, Onike, it was gathered that a mock examination for JAMB was ongoing there. The centre’s manager also refused to grant an interview, directing The Nation to go to JAMB Office in Lagos.
Centres, candidates ready in Kaduna
In Kaduna, Kaduna State, the CBT centres and candidates are ready for the examination.
The Nation, however, observed that some CBT centres had been shut by the authorities due to irregularities and technical failure in the conduct of the previous UTMEs.
Our correspondent observed that many candidates were trooping to CBT centres to print their slips to know their centre and seat number.
At one of the centres visited, Malam Umar Faruq Memorial Computer Centre, inside Sardauna Memorial College, Kaduna, the operators were seen test-running their computer systems.
Head of the centre, Popoola Muhammed Lawal, said the 275-capacity centre had successfully conducted UTME since 2016, and, as such, they knew what was required of them as a centre and always ready to perform beyond expectations.
One of the UTME candidates, who were at the centre to print their slips, Gabriel Wisdom, said this year’s exam would be his second attempt, stressing that his expectation was high and he was confident of passing the examination.
Another student, Precious John, said: “I have printed my slip and I am going to write the exam at Danbo International School CBT Centre. I have read very well for the exam and I have two more days now to do revision. But I am writing mine by 7:00am on Saturday.”
In another development, some of the centres visited by our correspondent were discovered to have been sanctioned by JAMB and shut down due to one irregularity or the other.
One of such centres at one of Kaduna GRAs was locked. It was, however, noticed that a JAMB UTME banner was clipped to the wall with a phone number redirecting candidate to another centre.
However, The Nation’s investigation revealed that the centre was among the erring CBT examination centres shut by JAMB for irregularities.
Anambra CBT operators acquire new systems, generator sets
Anambra students and examination centres said they were good to go for the examination.
Before now, students used to complain about system failures at the CBT centres during the examination.
But the centres’ operators said they had made their own arrangements so that they would not disappoint parents and candidates.
At the popular Integral Development Konsult, known in Anambra State as IDK, on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, The Nation was told there won’t be any problem in any way during the examination
Also, at the GRAFIL Centre, close to Aroma, one of the operators, Miracle Ihejiofor, said they were ready for the test while speaking with The Nation yesterday in Awka.
He said some of the challenges they used to encounter during the process were power supply and computers’ connectivity issue.
However, he said those things had been taken care of by purchasing another stand-by generating set to supply power in case of any such failure.
For the students, their expectations were nothing but to see the systems working without any hitch.
Miss Genevieve Orji and Miss Obiora Chinaza, who spoke with The Nation, said: “We don’t expect system failures during the examination. But, we have prepared ourselves adequately. We also pray for God’s help.”
One of the parents, Dr. Ephraim Nwosu, lamented that some of the centres were always overcrowded, making it difficult for some students to do well during the examination.
He called on JAMB to create more centres to decongest the existing ones, adding that 648 centres were too small for the number of students who take the exams every year.
JAMB candidates roam Jos streets to print slips
The Sallah holiday in Plateau State forced many candidates to roam the streets in search of computer-based centres to print their slips.
Some of the centres visited did not open for business, because of the Sallah holiday. A few opened for business and candidates trooped in to print their slips with ease.
However, a candidate, Hassan Adamu, said: “I registered on March 4, but, as you can see, I’ve been roaming the streets in search of a computer-based centre to print my slip.”
Ebonyi CBTs operators are ready
Two of the centres in Ebonyi State, Ebonyi State University and CSMT Secondary School Abakaliki, said they had upgraded their infrastructure in preparation for the examination.
Ebonyi State University spokesperson Patrick Itumo, said the CBT centre was well-prepared and equipped for the exams
“We are ready for the exams. We have over 300 work stations and all modalities have been put in place to ensure hitch-free exams,” he said
At the CSMT Secondary School, The Nation could not speak with the principal. A security officer said the principal was not around as it was a weekend and a public holiday.
Yobe SS3 pupils in final preparation for exam
Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education in Yobe State, Dr. Sani Idris, told our correspondent in a telephone interview that the state government had embarked on a three-week extension for SS3 students to coach them on the forthcoming examination with much emphasis on the computer.
“What we have done as a government to help our students in the state was to embark on a three weeks extension programme for all the SS3 students. Much of the emphasis was on the computer-based test and how to use the computer. We do not have a specific arrangement for computer but it was rather built as part of the extension programme that we did during the holidays,” Dr. Sani said.
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