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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Candidates face technical difficulties as nationwide exam progresses

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Candidates sitting the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) across the nation said they experienced minimal hitches on Saturday as the examinations continued for the second day.

UTME, administered by the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), is taken by candidates seeking admission into Nigerian tertiary institutions.

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This year, 1.9 million candidates registered for the examination, which started on Friday 19 April and would continue until Monday 29 April.

Students who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES at CBT centres in Oyo, Enugu, Lagos and Federal Capital Territory, gave mixed feelings on the conduct of the examinations.

Abuja, FCT

At the Tudun Wada CBT Hub, Government Secondary School (GSS), Zone 4, candidates and officials who spoke to this newspaper said the process was devoid of hitches.

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Benjamin Samson from Gwagwalada said he arrived at the venue at 11 a.m. for his examination scheduled for noon.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES when he left the hall at about 2:50 p.m., he said the candidates were ushered into the hall some minutes after noon.

The JAMB-appointed supervisor for the venue said there were no challenges at the hall since the examination began on Monday.

Candidates waiting to enter the exam hall – PHOTO – Chinagorom Ugwu

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He said the illumination in the hall is not ‘good enough’ and that he has called the attention of the management of the centre to replace some dead bulbs in the hall.

“In addition to that, some of the computer screens do not meet JAMB specifications. They’re not wide enough,” he said, adding that he doesn’t want his name in print.

He said JAMB’s specification for the CBT centres is 17 inches wide screen but some of the computers in the hall are only 14 inches wide.

“There were no incidents of power outage or generator failure,” he added.

Though no candidates experienced difficulty at the centre, he said candidates whose examinations were rescheduled from other centres will take their test at the centre.

This would be the fourth session instead of the initial three sessions the centre has daily, he said.

Future Gate Model School

At the Future Gate Model School in New Karu, students whose examination was slated for 9 a.m., were seen checking into the hall around 10:00 a.m. PREMIUM TIMES observed that the examination commenced around 10:20 a.m.

However, officials did not allow candidates who came late to take the tests even when they pleaded.

Sandra Lawrence was one of the candidates who came after the examination had already started.

A teary-eyed Ms Lawrence pleaded with the facilitators who said there was nothing they could do.

“Please help me. I am just coming from the hospital. My mother is sick and I am the only child, therefore she sent for me. Please help me,” she pleaded.

However, the facilitators said they wouldn’t capture her fingerprint as other candidates had already started their examinations.

“If it was last year we could have done something but this year, you mess up, we mess you up,” one facilitator said with a stern face.

One of the facilitators who pleaded not to be named, noted that there were a few cases where candidates’ examinations were rescheduled as the officials could not verify their fingerprints.

He said most of the challenges encountered are with the first batch of students.

“As you can see, the second batch is writing and the third batch is presently undergoing accreditation downstairs so immediately after this batch is done writing, the next batch will check it.

“This is done to save us time. We arrived at 5:30 in the morning and we began verifying the first batch around 6: 00 a.m.,” he said.

“The whole process is going on seamlessly. We didn’t have any network problems so far and this is the second batch for today.”

Some of the candidates interviewed at the venue also noted that the examination was conducted in a peaceful manner devoid of technical challenges.

Edeoga Chidera said: “I didn’t encounter any challenges. The only challenge which was noted related to the Jamb procedures is that I found difficulty solving some of my mathematical questions. Aside from that, there was no problem whatsoever.”

Another candidate, Raphel Ode, the process was better than the previous times he sat for the examinations.

“There were no issues of the system going off or anyone having issues with thumbprinting. The whole process was peaceful,” he said.

Dantata Universal Services

Meanwhile, at the Dantata Universal Services, GSS Zone 3, the JAMB-appointed supervisor, Zainab Muhammad, said only three candidates experienced difficulty at the centre since examinations began on Friday.

She said the fingerprint machine could not capture the three candidates and that their details had been sent to the JAMB headquarters.

She said the centre had two sessions on Friday and three sessions on Saturday.

“Every session has 200 students. So for five sessions now, that means over 900 (candidates sat the exams at the centre),” she said.

In Enugu, candidates hail JAMB for smooth exercise

At Digital Learning Management Centre I which is located within the premises of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu, officials of JAMB told PREMIUM TIMES that there were no issues recorded so far at the centre.

One of the officials who identified himself as Mr Alawo said the candidates were divided into batches and that each batch had a total of 250 candidates.

“But for this ongoing session, 240 people were accredited for the exam. Nine candidates were absent while one candidate could not be verified,” he said.

Mr Alawo said most of those who were absent were often individuals who had secured admission through alternative means and others who died after registering for the exercise.

One of the candidates who sat the exam at the centre, Jephthah Kaant, said there was no technical issue during the exercise.

Jephthah Kaant

“Everything- the technical aspect, the network- was perfect,” Mr Kaant, 23, who is seeking to study medicine, said.

The candidate, who had written the same exam in 2020, said he observed some improvements in this year’s exercise.

He praised JAMB for the improvements saying, “They should keep up the good work.”

The situation was the same at Digital Learning Management Centre II within the same IMT premises.

Chidinma Izundu, one of the candidates from the centre, said apart from the fact that there were no technical hitches; JAMB officials ensured that there was no form of malpractice during the exercise.

Chidinma Izundu, a UTME candidate

Ms Izundu, 17, who had written the same examination the previous year, also observed that there was an improvement in this year’s exercise.

“There were improvements (in this year’s exercise). (This is) because, (for instance), last year, I wrote in this same centre. But this year, we started earlier than last year,” the candidate, who is seeking to study pharmacy, said.

When a PREMIUM TIMES reporter visited the Centre for Advanced Library and Information Management, another UTME centre, at about 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, some candidates were seen queuing up to enter the exam hall.

Nehemiah Zaka, the supervisor at the centre, said two batches wrote the examination on Friday and that three batches would take part in the exercise on Saturday.

ALSO READ: 2024 UTME: JAMB threatens arrest of parents found near examination centres

“Since then, we have not had any issue. No technical issues, no security issues,” Mr Zaka said.

Kosiso Eze, one of the candidates from the centre, said JAMB deserves praise for the smooth conduct of the exercise.

Kosiso Eze, another UTME candidate

Ms Eze, 18, who is seeking to study international relations, said the sitting arrangement also made it impossible for candidates to engage in malpractice in the exercise.

“You cannot even sit with somebody who is writing the same thing with you,” she said of the sitting arrangement.

Another candidate, Kosi Obiefuna, said the exercise was seamless.

Kosi Obiefuna, a UTME candidate

“I was able to log in and there was no problem. There were no technical issues. Everything was flawless,” 17-year-old Obiefuna, who is seeking to study medicine, said.

Oyo State

In Okeho, Kajola Local Government Area (LGA) of Oyo state, the examination was well organised in the two accredited centres: DamDav CBT Centre I and II by the examination body.

PREMIUM TIMES observed that the centres, which were established in 2019 are easily accessible, with well-equipped facilities to facilitate a smooth and effective examination process.

The centres had candidates from various places in Oyo State, including Iseyin, Saki, Tede, Ilora, Ilero, Iwere Ile, Elekokan, and Irawo, among others.

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, the Centre Administrator for DamDav CBT Centres, Oluwaseun Abolarin, said the capacity for each centre is 250 candidates and unlike previous years, the centres will be having 450 per session.

“Yesterday, we had two sessions, making 900 candidates in total on Friday when the examination started. It was seamless and the candidates were calm and organised,” he said.

“We even have extra systems, in case anyone packs up.”

According to Mr Abolarin, the only challenge is the epileptic power supply in Okeho. He said the centres run on generators, inverters and solar, which is very expensive.

Candidates remark

Two candidates, who identified themselves as Ali and Ayomide said they arrived in Okeho on Friday for their second UTME attempt on Saturday from Saki, Oyo State, which was about two hours.

For Ali, unlike his first attempt in a centre in Iseyin where the system went off during the examination, he said “The second experience was okay, they are well organised and the centre I used is well ventilated.”

Another candidate, Abdullah Alawiye, from Iseyin, Oyo, said it was his first attempt and he is hopeful for a good result.

“I was comfortable and everything went smoothly throughout the session,” he said.

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