The 2015 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) commence today throughout Nigeria and seven foreign countries and over one million, four hundred and seventy-five thousand, four hundred and seventy-seven (1,475,477) candidates will sit this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations, scheduled for between Tuesday, March 10, and Saturday, March 21, across 400 centers in the country.
For the first time, the examination will be administered strictly through the Computer-Based Test (CBT) mode, without the options of the Paper-Pencil Test (PPT) or the Dual-Based Test (DBT).
It is the first time also that the examination is taking place during the week (as against the usual practice of conducting it on one Saturday in a year) and the first time it will run for several days (10 days).
Although the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Dibu Ojerinde, had announced since 2013 that the CBT mode would be compulsory beginning from this year (2015), without the options of Paper-Pencil and Dual-Based Test modes, there are still concerns that this year’s exercise might not be totally hitch-free.
Fears have been expressed in some quarters that the examination, being exclusively technology-based this year, may be marred by serious hitches.
Already, there have been complaints of candidates experiencing difficulty assessing the JAMB portal to print examination slips, while some have alleged that they were made to pay extra charges of N100 to check their examination centres at the JAMB office. Some candidates have also complained of being confused about the different examination dates in their slips.
While announcing the examination body’s readiness to phase out the Paper-Pencil Test and Dual-Based Testing modes, Professor Ojerinde had explained that it was necessary to do away with the PPT as the CBT would curb examination malpractice and enhance quick release of examination results.
“The idea of the CBT is that after 30 minutes of the examination and the candidate leaves the examination hall, a graphical result of the test will be sent to the candidate’s mobile phone number, while the specific scores will be released within the period of four days,” he had said.
When the board first experimented with the initiative in 2013, the CBT examination took place in 77 centres across the country. These have been increased this year to 400, according to Mr Fabian Benjamin, the Public Relations Officer of the board.
Speaking with newsmen on Monday, Mr Benjamin debunked fears that phasing the examination might give room to leakage, as according to him, the CBT mode meant that no two candidates would be given the same set of questions.
“Each candidate’s questions are customised to him,” he said.
The examination, which has morning, afternoon and evening sessions, is expected to run for up to 15 days.
Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune on Monday, head of JAMB’s national headquarters (Annex), Lagos, Dr Beatrice Okorie, said all was set for the take-off of the examination and that the Board expected a hitch-free exercise this year.
Dr Okorie said all the CBT centres had been equipped beforehand and candidates who did not report at their centres in time might not be allowed to sit for the examination.
She said: “There are 35 CBT centres in Lagos. All of them are ready for this exercise. The first session will run from 8.00 till 11.00 a.m, mid-day session will run from 11.30 till 2.30 p.m, while the afternoon session will run from 3.00 till 6.00 p.m.”
Dr Okorie said JAMB’s decision to make its United Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) completely computer-based was to reduce the rate of malpractice and to ensure that results were released even faster than before.
She said: “We used to operate both the CBT and the pencil-based test. But from this year, all our tests will be computer-based. With this arrangement, candidates are expected to get their result immediately after the examination.”
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