Today, about one million seven hundred and thirty six thousand, five hundred and seventy one candidates who registered for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, including 321 blind candidates will be sitting for the examination, which is a prerequisite for admission to both the universities and polytechnics.
For years, there were reported cases of examination fraud perpetrated by the candidates, in some cases with the aide of their parents, sponsors and in collaboration with some staff of JAMB.
This year’s examination appears to have some innovations to check exam malpractices.
The first step taken by the management of JAMB led by its Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede was the introduction of Closed Circuit Television Cameras and the 624 centres which will monitor movements of candidates and supervisors during the exercise.
Prof. Oloyede while briefing journalists recently at JAMB headquarters in Bwari, an outskirt of Abuja, said, “We have started to install CCTV cameras at our test centres so that from the Situation Room, we can monitor what is going on across the country.”
Apart from the CCTV camera, JAMB has also modified the payment and registration platforms through which each candidate obtains a PIN and not the usual scratch cards from the market and conduct transaction with the board.
Another area where candidates cheat during examination is through dual registration but the management of JAMB has said that such will not occur in today’s exercise.
According to Prof. Oloyede, “to guard against dual and multiple registrations that smart candidates do, we have biometrically captured all the fingers of the candidates. If you want to impersonate anyone, you will have to bring the person’s finger.
“We have begun to create profiles for our applicants so that each of them would have a personalised account where information would be made available.
The process will make coming physically to JAMB office needless as all corrections can be effected on candidates profiles and submission of documents made online.”
Aside that, JAMB has introduced as supplement, simple Computer Keyboard to make things easier for those who are not familiar with the use of a mouse or conventional keyboard.
On the area of security, JAMB authorities assured of water tight security as the Registrar hinted of the collaboration with security agencies including the military to make the process smooth, secure and satisfactory.
Another innovation by JAMB management to curb incidences of examination malpractice is the use of Biometric Verification Machine, BVM, to verify them as the candidates.
The JAMB Registrar also stated that the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, the Police, the Department of State Services, DSS, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related a Offences Commission, ICPC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have been engaged to monitor examination centres and maintain close surveillance.
Each test centre will have a supervisor, a technical officer, a verification officer, three proctors as well as security agents and each state will be superintended over by a head of a tertiary institution, a Vice-Chancellor, Rector or Provost that coordinates the supervisors under his or her jurisdiction.
According to him, “As we are set for the 2017 exercise, we have expanded on almost all the frontiers of the 2017 examinations. You may recall that, last year, the examination was conducted in 524 centres. The 2017 UTME would be conducted in 624 centres across the nation.
“The challenges so far especially with the earlier botched Mock Examinations have reassured JAMB that whatever happens, happens for the good.”
He further stated that JAMB had increased the capacity of the test centres to 250 (with only a few in Categories B and C having the seating capacity of over 200 and 100 respectively), adding that the aim is to make effective documentation and monitoring easier.
“Besides, we have also widened our vending banks from four (4) to ten (10) banks and also brought on board Interswitch, Remita and NIPOST.