The ongoing registration of prospective candidates for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has been trailed by logistic challenges. The exercise, which commenced on March 20, was to end on Wednesday, April 19, before the strident protests of candidates who were finding it difficult to register and the prompt intervention of the House of Representatives forced JAMB to grant a two-week extension.
Since the sale of forms started, complaints from candidates across the country show that the process of registration is too slow and cumbersome. Some of the candidates in Asaba, Delta State, said it takes about three days to register an applicant. They also complained of difficulty in accessing JAMB’s website. There have also been the same complaints by prospective candidates in Benin City and Cross River State.
The story of slow registration is the same in Lagos, Makurdi and other cities in the country. There are also allegations of extortion of money from candidates by officials charged with the registration as a result of the large crowd of applicants. Computer Based Test (CBT) centre administrators, who reported difficulties in accessing the JAMB website, had also joined in the call by JAMB to extend the registration time.
We welcome the decision of the examination body to extend the exercise by two weeks. The anxiety that had already started building up when the organisation initially refused to extend the registration period has now been largely dispelled. JAMB spokesman, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, had, at the time said that the examination body would only work towards rectifying identified lapses in the optimism that, before the end of the initial April 19 deadline, all the prospective candidates would have registered. JAMB had also then said that it had registered 600,000 candidates since the sale of forms commenced on March 20.
We commend the House of Representatives for stepping into the matter, ordering an extension and mandating its Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to oversee the implementation of its directives. It also enjoined JAMB to deploy safety equipment at each centre to forestall stampedes which may arise due to overcrowding during the examination. The House also directed the examination body to specify measures which will qualify any centre to participate in the UTME Computer Based Test. Now that the UTME deadline has been extended, we urge all prospective candidates to strive to register for the examination within the new deadline.
We call on JAMB to use the period of extension to address all the hiccups in the registration exercise. The organisation should fine-tune its Information Technology (IT) systems as well as the registration processes so that candidates can register without further hitches.
It has become necessary to simplify UTME registration. Registration for public examinations should not be such an arduous task. The fact that some candidates claimed that last year’s registration was better than the one of this year, shows that JAMB has a lot of work to do to ease the exercise.
Registration for examinations should not be a harrowing experience as we have it now. Let JAMB fine-tune its processes and ensure a seamless and stress-free registration. Prospective candidates should not be subjected to unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks because they want to register for the UTME.