The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on May 11 released this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) results after an initial delay. Of the over 1.8 million candidates who sat for the examination between April 11 and 18, the results of 1,792,719 were released while those of 34,120 were withheld with 15,145 that needed further clarifications
JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, disclosed that the delay was caused by malpractices and other infractions perpetrated by candidates and their collaborators at the examination centres across the country. He specifically revealed that JAMB identified large number of impersonators that specialised in writing UTME for candidates and most of the tutorial masters that also specialised in recruiting professional writers for the candidates. We condemn the rising cases of examination malpractices witnessed in the UTME and call on JAMB and other stakeholders to map out strategies to avert them in future. We also commend the new leadership of JAMB for its renewed commitment to eliminate examination malpractices.
Since the introduction of JAMB in 1978, it has carried out its main duty of conducting examination into the tertiary institutions diligently and in the process has earned a good reputation for itself. However, we are worried that recent examination malpractices may taint it, if not checked.
The upsurge in examination malpractices witnessed during the 2019 UTME may not be unconnected with the desperation of some candidates to gain admission. For example, one ‘mercenary’ candidate caught at this year’s UMTE was alleged to have registered over 60 times.
This infraction occurred despite JAMB’s efforts to make the examination foolproof with the introduction of modern technology and the Computer Based Test (CBT). It is laudable that JAMB has not relented in its determination to rein in these nefarious elements and examination cheats. As at the last count, 116 CBT centres were sanctioned and delisted from the JAMB register and would be debarred from conducting future examinations; over 200 persons were arrested and currently being prosecuted for their roles during the examination. It is also good that JAMB is introducing new measures to secure the integrity of the examination.
One of the new measures being proposed is the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) which the authorities say would ensure “control, transparency and credibility of the admission process.” The new system is also expected to expand admission chances and protect academic calendar of the various universities. We have no doubt that the proposed new initiatives would address the problems if faithfully implemented. We urge the JAMB leadership to ensure that they are quickly introduced.
Despite the challenges JAMB encountered in this year’s examination, it produced some of the best results in recent years. Candidate Ekene Franklin Ezeunala from Imo State obtained the highest score of 347 out of the 400 points. The 15-year-old boy is a student of Meiran Community Secondary School, Lagos.
The young outstanding performer applied to read Chemical Engineering at the University of Lagos, but he may be denied the opportunity on account of the school’s admission age requirement. We suggest that the authorities of the University of Lagos should waive the age requirement for brilliant candidates. They should not be denied admission because of age. They should be treated like gifted children. Ekene has represented his school and Lagos State in science competitions with distinction. Therefore, his performance is laudable. It is a Nigerian success story worth telling.
The Federal Government should offer scholarships to the best three candidates in the UTME. This is how developed countries groom their talented citizens. However, the conduct of this year’s UTME cannot be said to be hitch-free. Many candidates complained of lapses in biometric verification process, poor servers and malfunctioning calculators among others. Moreover, the long delay in the release of results was not tidy. We urge JAMB to ensure that the hiccups experienced by candidates during the 2019 UTME are addressed before the next examination season. The CBT should be an improvement on the abandoned paper and pencil examination.