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Poor connectivity, inadequate manpower, others mar 2023 UTME registration

By Iyabo Lawal
23 March 2023   |   5:09 am
Over the years, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has continued to introduce new policies as prerequisites for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).


Over the years, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has continued to introduce new policies as prerequisites for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). The UTME is a conditional assessment test to gain admission into tertiary institutions (Colleges of Education to polytechnics, monotechnic to skill acquisition centres and universities) in Nigeria.

The examination’s coordinating body, JAMB, has made the generation of a profile code a first step as well as mandatory for every prospective candidate to progress with the registration. The code is required for logging into its portal to fill the application forms, make payment and then do the biometric capturing.

The examination body this year brought e-naira mode of payment, National Identification Number (NIN) short code and compulsory email address as some of its core processes for registration, which posed some challenges to applicants.

About 1.6 million candidates registered for this year’s examination. It would be recalled that the board had granted the extension to accommodate candidates who could not register for the 2023 UTME within the initial stipulated time due to recent developments in the country.

The board’s Head of Public Affairs, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, in statement, said at the close of the sale of e-PINs, about 1,527,068 candidates successfully registered, inclusive of the 168,748, who indicated interest to take the mock-UTME.

Applicants recount ordeal
BUT a lot of applicants have expressed great displeasure over the exercise, saying the process is not smooth. They lamented that some prospective candidates are denied opportunity to register following hitches and network issues.

At some registration centres in the state, including West African Examination Council (WAEC) International Office, Ikeja, Sure Academy, Fagba, Morris Tutorial College, Abule Egba, Pre-varsity Academy, Akoka, JKK CBT Centre at Anthony, Lagos, applicants struggled to get registered. Some applicants said they had their PINs, but could not thumbprint; while some lamented they could not complete registration following their inability to acquire the NIN short code or comply with the registration payment policy as a result of network issues. They also complained of limited number of computers to register large number of candidates and extortion.

An applicant, Adaobi Nwosisi, said she went to her centre about three times before she succeeded in registering. Apart from network issues, Nwosisi said getting the NIN code took sometime. A student at Pre-varsity Academy, Akoka, Daniel Ayomikun, lamented poor Internet network and disorderliness at the CBT registration centres, among others.

Some students lamented the short period given for registration; saying poor network coupled with limited computers affected the exercise.
A parent, Remi Adelowo, while recounting his ordeal with his daughter, who’s an applicant, said: I was at the registration centre in Ikeja around 8.00am with my daughter, but they didn’t attend to her until around 2.00pm and doing the biometric capturing also turned out to be another big issue.

“They told her there was no internet network and that she should step aside pending the time the network would start functioning again and because of that, we waited for another three hours still without the network functioning. We had to leave with the hope of coming back the next day.

“On the next day, which was Saturday, we arrived at the centre as early as 7.30am and my daughter was the second person to come around. We were happy thinking they would be attended to as they arrived but that wasn’t so.

“At about 11.00am, they reluctantly attended to my daughter after I had protested the practice openly. The process is too traumatic,”Adelowo lamented

However, Adelowo, just like many others, put the blames of the poor registration process first on National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for its poor Internet connectivity to JAMB’s server and on the CBT centres that are not orderly in their operations and then on JAMB for not doing effective monitoring of the exercise at the CBT centres.

But an official at Sure Academy, Sunday Eyinmoye, blamed the applicants for waiting till the last minute to register. He wondered why they had to wait till the last minute before struggling to register.

Eyinmoye said there is a limit to the number of computer systems one can connect to JAMB router, and there’s little they can do from their end.

“We couldn’t do beyond our power as our operation is being controlled from the top. There were days we couldn’t register up to 100 candidates but some applicants would wait till the last minute to register.

On her part, an official at Morris tutorial College, Esther Olamiju, identified cash, network issues, and generating profile code as some of the challenges experienced at the centre.

“Most times, we have network issue and this interrupts registration. You might be registering a student, and before you know it, the network disappears and you will have to re-log in,” Olamiju said. She added that scarcity of cash was another major problem, as applicants were looking for where to get cash to purchase the forms.

“Another challenge was profile code. Some students were to generate profile codes. Some sent their code, but received no response, while some received ‘no record found’ as response.” Other candidates expressed frustration over poor network service, especially getting their NIN linked with their application.

One of the candidates, Adeolu Obafemi said the challenge is that the registration centres are too far and most of the time, the centres are filled with people and the network was not very good.

Another candidate, Joshua Adeoye, said registration was very stressful and service very poor. Others also complained of difficulty in getting registration done before deadline.

The Association of Tutorial School Operators (ATSO) had earlier raised the alarm that this year’s UTME candidates would experience pain and stress, following reduction in the number of computer-based centres across the country by JAMB.

It was gathered that the examination body reduced the centres for reasons such as poor facilities, not complying with guidelines of the Board, and involvement in examination malpractice among others.

Though the total number of CBT centres axed by the board was not given, investigations revealed that in Ogun State, the number of CBT centres was reduced from 43 to 21, 21 to 14 in Abia State, and 17 to 16 in Kogi State.

JAMB reacts
THE examination body, through its spokesperson, said JAMB, as a responsive and proactive agency, took cognisance of reports from across the country indicating some difficulties being faced by many Nigerians in using their electronic channels to purchase the e-PINs or obtain cash readily within the stipulated period, and extended deadline for registration.

The board also announced that this year’s UTME would witness some groundbreaking innovations aimed at addressing observed infractions and centre failures.

For instance, the board stated that in the new regime, if there is a delay of up to one hour before the commencement of a particular session, that session stands cancelled and would be rescheduled along with the candidates.

“By the same token, no examination can be started one hour after the scheduled commencement time. The session will be scheduled for any vacant or available slot,” Benjamin said.

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