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JAMB flip-flops, postpones mock examination

By Muyiwa Adeyemi (Ibadan), Lawrence Njoku (Enugu), Mohammed Abubakar (Abuja) and Uju Atuenyi (Lagos)
09 April 2017   |   4:28 am
Citing logistic reasons, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has postponed the mock Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), scheduled for yesterday.

Stranded candidates at yesterday’s aborted JAMB Mock Examination in Ibadan

• Due To Signal Failure From JAMB Portal
• Parents, Candidates Mock Exam Body
• CBT Centres Lament Operational Cost
• Extends UTME Forms Sale, Exams

Citing logistic reasons, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has postponed the mock Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), scheduled for yesterday.

Similarly, the Board also announced the extension of the registration and sale of form for the 2017 UTME, as well as, shift in date for the main examination by one week.The Mock Examination was scheduled to hold in selected accredited centres across the country yesterday. Though voluntary, it was designed to acquaint prospective candidates on the demands of the examination and its processes, using the Computer Based Testing (CBT)
At an emergency media briefing at the board’s headquarters in Abuja, the Registrar, Prof. Is’haq Oloyede apologised to candidates and other stakeholders that the mock examination could not go due to technical hitches from the board’s partner. But he did not give the new date for the mock examination.

He announced the extension of registration exercise of the 2017 UTME, saying the deadline for the sale of forms and registration will now extend to Friday, May 5, 2017. Speaking on the aborted mock, he said: “The Mock Examination earlier slated for Saturday, April 8, 2017 has been put on hold.  This is because the appropriate rehearsal and test running of the new system has been substantially achieved. The plan was to trial-test the readiness of our facilities and address the challenges that may likely confront the main examination. The Mock Examination remains free for willing candidates, even the fee due to the CBT centre owners are being paid by JAMB. No cost to the candidates
“At this moment, we have realised that the plan to hold this Mock Examination was good for us. We are now in a better position to achieve better than we would have done without this trial testing. This is why the exercise is at no cost to the candidates.
“It is our strong conviction that this exercise is an experience for us. Our systems analysis has revealed interesting findings that will engender a seamless and successful 2017 UTME exercise.
Earlier, prospective candidates across the country had besieged the various centres waiting endlessly for the examination to commence.In Damaturu, Yobe State, candidates had reported at the centre in good time, only to remain idle away as examination officials struggled to rectify a hitch arising from network failure.
Although the officials refused talking to the press, the candidates said they were told that there was no ‘signal from the JAMB portal’Similar situation occurred in Lagos, where the examination scheduled for 7am and 9am for the first and second batches respectively, did not commence. At about 1:53pm, the Centre Administrator at TFL Global Computer Career Centre, Ijegu, Lagos, Pastor Joseph Olutola Amos, broke the news of the cancelation to already worn out candidates.

Obviously, perceiving the hitches, the board in the early hours of yesterday directed the accredited Computer-Based-Test (CBT) centre administrators not to collect the N700 mock fee the candidates were expected to pay.

Candidates and parents described the postponement as a failure on the part of the organising body. They lamented that the board ought to have foreseen its unpreparedness and announce the postponement the previous day, rather than subjecting candidates and parents to physical and emotional pains.

One of the candidates, who identified himself as Emmanuel, said, “I have been asked to go home, after seven hours of waiting, this is a big shame on us as a nation. If we are experiencing this today, I wonder what will happen on the examination day.”

Amos said though JAMB’s idea of organising a mock exam is laudable, but he suspects that system failure and Internet hitches could be responsible for the challenges encountered by the board. He urged the candidates to go home, as a new date will be communicated to them.

A technical staff from JAMB headquarters, Mrs. Goldlyn Aliagha, who spoke with The Guardian at Bafuto Computer Institute, Ikotun, around 11.55am, said she is communicating with officials at the headquarter as they will soon upload questions online for the examination to take place. But that never happened

The Centre Administrator at Bafuto, Adekunle Banjo, who also confirmed the postponement, said, “the board this morning issued a directive that we should not collect the N700 mock exam fee from the candidates, that they will take responsibility for all expenditure. So we did not collect any money from candidates.”

The Guardian also observed that biometric officers were not on ground to capture candidates’ data and thumb printing, thus leaving the centres to use official list from the board to usher in candidates into the waiting room, before the test was cancelled indefinitely.

Another Centre administrator, who do not want his name mentioned lamented that the centre has been running diesel since 6.30am, noting that it is a huge financial waste to run diesel and other facilities for almost eight hours for no good reason in today’s Nigeria.

In Ibadan, Oyo State capital, some candidates staged a peaceful protest to condemn what they described as shoddy preparation for the examination and expressed fears that the new system adopted by JAMB for the examination may not work.

But JAMB representative, who pleaded with the candidates, allayed their fears that all the problems that caused the cancellation of the mock exam would be rectified before the commencement of the real examination.The same was the situation at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, where hundreds of candidates were expected to write the trial examination. They all went home disappointed.

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