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Connectivity, software issues persist as 2018 UTME begins

By Sunday Aikulola, Kehinde Olatunji and Adebisi Adewuyi (Lagos) with agency report 
11 March 2018   |   4:26 am
Even some parents, who escorted their wards to the centres admitted that there was a great improvement in the exercise, when juxtaposed with previous editions. For instance, most centres started on time and the general atmosphere was orderly and the conduct peaceful.

Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.

It is obviously not yet Uhuru for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), as the first session of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) got underway, yesterday, across the country.A cocktail of complaints, prominent among which were poor network connection and software issues, as well as, unfamiliarity with computer by some candidates hallmarked yesterday’s session. 
All these happened as parents and guardians repeated their calls for the licensing of more Computer-Based Test (CBT) centres.Although most of the centres visited by The Guardian in Lagos State were well coordinated, the connectivity challenge and power failure, which were recorded in last year’s examination still repeated themselves, even though on a low scale.  
Even some parents, who escorted their wards to the centres admitted that there was a great improvement in the exercise, when juxtaposed with previous editions. For instance, most centres started on time and the general atmosphere was orderly and the conduct peaceful.

At the Elite Event Centre, Ikorodu, some candidates complained that their computer sets, were tripping off, thereby affecting the pace of their examination. Some even canvassed a return to the old order until connectivity issues and that of software problems were properly addressed.
Interestingly, some candidates maintained that the examination should not be only objectives, but room should also be given for essay, like the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO). Complaints about distances between CBT centres also rang out loud, as both parents and candidates called for the licensing of more CBT centres.
At TFL Global Academy, Ijegun, Ikotun, where the examination started at 08:25am as against 7:00am, only one candidate complained that her computer had low battery, while others stated that they had no issues. An official blamed the late commencement on the late completion of the biometric exercise. on time.But at Charity Caleb International School, Ejigbo,  several candidates complained that their computer sets were malfunctioning.

The JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishiaq Oloyede, had earlier warned parents to steer clear of examination centres, but a parent who identified herself as Mrs. Aderibigbe said, “I had to wait for my child because of unnecessary charges. Candidates are being charged as high as N500 for officials to take care of their belongings outside the examination hall.

At Risk Global Digital Institute, Anthony Village,  proprietor of the school, Mr. Emeka Ukpbai, said all necessary arrangement were in place to ensure a hitch-free exercise, and a candidate, who identified herself as Olayinka, confirmed that the examination was devoid of challenges, particularly network problems. Olayinka, one of the hundreds of thousands denied admission into the university system in the 2017 edition, due to lack of space also called for the scrapping of the post-UTME, which she described as a “fraud.”
Abayomi Otubela, the proprietor of Lagooz Schools Agege, Lagos, whose school serves as one of the UTME centres, told some parents at the venue that some candidates had difficulties using the computer sets, a development, which made them to panic.“Some of our children are fidgeting because they are not familiar with the use of computers. Some of them could not even navigate to the next subject, so we had to put them through the process before the examination started,” he said.He advised parents to inform those, who had not written the examination, to get familiar with the use of computers and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) software.

Candidates in Benin City, Edo State, yesterday equally tasked the JAMB to be time cautious. One of them, Endurance Abang, complained that the examination was one hour late at his centre. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr. Abang said that some of the candidates travelled early to their various centres without food only to start waiting for JAMB officials to arrive.

Solomon Osarodion, another candidate, who lauded JAMB for the smooth conduct of the examination, also condemned the late commencement of the examination. Also, Idowu Odufoye, an Inspector of Call (IC) from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) told the NAN that they recorded a hitch-free screening at the centre.“We carried out the screening in four different stages and there was no problem with the candidates. They complied, obeyed instructions and none of them was caught with any incriminating material, Mrs. Odufoye said.

In Adamawa State, the Zonal Coordinator JAMB, Mr. Danladi Aliyu, told NAN in Yola the “examination started successfully in five centres in the state, one centre in Mubi and four centres in Yola.He explained that the centres were: Federal University of Technology Mubi; Federal College of Education, Yola; American University of Nigeria, Yola; Aliyu Mustapha College Yola, and Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola.On Internet service and other challenges, he said “so far, there has been no case of poor network or missed candidate data.”

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