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2017 jamb: a post-mortem —

2017 jamb: a post-mortem

Why subject combinations become muddled up in UTME

What can be done to stop the yearly occurrence

Looking back at the hurdles in JAMB exam

By Chika Abanobi

Hillary Ashikodi, 16, and one of the candidates in this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) had chosen to read Law or Mass Communication (his second choice) at the University of Lagos.

And to that end, he registered for four UTME subjects that would help him achieve that dream: Use of English, Literature, Government and Christian Religious Knowledge.  But on the day of the exam, Ashikodi who came with his mother, and armed with exam printout was shocked to see entered against his name strange UTME subjects he never registered for nor thought about.

In place of the four subjects he entered for, he was given Use of English, Government, Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) and Christian Religious Knowledge. Ashikodi who is not a Muslim nor for whom IRK is one of the required UTME subjects needed to read Law or Mass Communication, was so confused that he did not know what to do.

At the end, he decided to tick in answers he had no idea of what they mean, not to talk about whether they were correct or wrong, just to make sure the time allocated to it was utilized. There was no time to waste or wait, he was advised. Complaint could come later.

Complaint and investigation

Truly, complaint did come later at JKK House, the CBT centre at Ilupeju, where Ashikodi had sat for his exam, and at the time when Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, the Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and some of his officers that include Dr. Fabian Benjamin, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), were visiting to assess situation of things.

In the course of his informal interaction with journalists, Oloyede got to know about the case of Ashikodi and his mum who were somewhere downstairs lamenting their fate and asked to see them. Earlier, he had argued that most of the mistakes people complain about such as this issue of mixing up or muddling up subjects, as was the case with Ashikodi, are none of JAMB making as it is always a case of ‘garbage in, garbage out,’ an argument that the newsmen present took with a pinch of salt.

But he was to prove them wrong when his oral investigation revealed that the candidate who registered with one Ajibola Institute located on Oki Lane, Mende, Maryland, Lagos, allegedly with N8, 500 although an official of the institute claimed that the management collected only N700 per candidate as processing fee, had no exam slip but only JAMB subjects printout. The boy later claimed to have been registered in group.

So, how and why do such mix-up occur? Ashikodi himself threw some light on the matter when he said they were registered as a group. Prof. Oloyede argues that when such is the case, UTME subjects are bound to be muddled up especially if the staff doing the registration are half-baked.

“Sometimes they muddle up the subjects deliberately in a bid to extort more money from the candidates,” he said. “They do so under the guise of helping them to sort out the matter together with their syndicate.”

Many hitches of an exam

Apart from the muddling up of subject combinations, this year’s exam which is said to have been sat for by more than 1.7 million candidates witnessed many hitches including poor internet service at most of the CBT centres leading to some delay or disruption, obsolete or malfunctioning computer systems, poor power supply leading to computer shutdowns, inability of the biometrics capturing system to identify or authenticate candidates fingerprints, etc.

But during the interaction with journalists, Oloyede blamed most of the woes faced by the candidates on owners/operators of the CBT centres who he said had promised JAMB a hitch-free exam but ended up disappointing the body abysmally.

Expressing his disappointment with their performance, he promised a review of the number in next year

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