Technology hitches mar UTME mock exams
•Unattended candidates to write test today, tomorrow
Parents and candidates for the rescheduled 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) mock were, yesterday, disappointed, as the test could not hold in many centres due to technological hitches.
In other centres across Lagos metropolis, applicants, scheduled to write the examination at 7:00 a.m., waited in vain, as the Computer-Based Test (CBT) could not stream due to absence of signal.
The exercise is an optional examination introduced by Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to provide an opportunity for hands-on experience and to ascertain the board’s readiness and its partners for the main test, holding between April 29 and May 12.
Some guardians, who spoke with The Guardian, expressed disappointment that the examination could not hold till 4:00 pm.
Initially, a staff addressed parents and candidates, intimating them that the test would hold by 2:00p.m, adding that if signal was not got, the examination would be postponed till today.
But the parents tackled JAMB for putting their wards through so much stress.
“Asking us to come back by 2:00p.m. was one of the most insensitive statements to come from a body like JAMB. I came from Ikorodu, slept in a hotel near the centre so as to get to the venue on time. Is JAMB asking us to go back to the hotel where we had already checked out and come back here by 2:00p.m. for an examination they are not sure would hold?” a parent lamented.
For instance, at the West African Examination Council (WAEC) international office centre at Ogba, Ikeja, candidates and parents were seen milling around the gate, looking tired and dejected. Some of them said they arrived the centre as early as 6:00a.m.
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to write the exams. Since morning, they kept telling us that there was no signal, and we have been waiting since then, a candidate, who identified himself as Divine, lamented.
The situation was same at JKK centre on Ikorodu Road, as candidates waited endlessly to write the test, while officials struggled to get signal.
At Sure Academy, Ikeja, the examination could not hold as of the time of filing this report due to same technology glitch.
A parent, Janet Oladejo, who escorted her ward to the venue at Iyana Ipaja, said they have to lodge overnight at a hotel close by to arrive early for the examination.
“Unfortunately, as at 4:00p.m., my daughter is yet to sit for the exam. Already, she is tired, hungry and dejected. JAMB officials and management of the centre kept telling us to wait, while they fix the computers. Tell me, how can candidates write examination and pass in this kind of situation?”
“It is disappointing that at a time like this in the history of Nigeria when elections, census and other government projects have failed due to poor technology, it is surprising that JAMB is found wanting,” she lamented.
JAMB spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, while assuring that the situation is under control, said the examination would certainly be held though behind schedule.
About 168,748 students registered for the mock out of the over 1.5 million prospective candidates for this year’s UTME, according to official statistics.
At La-Vogue British School, Kurudu, Abuja, the first batch of candidates, who began the test at 3.30p.m.
Thousands of candidates, who travelled from near and wide, waited endlessly.
AMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, said the organisation would reschedule the examination for today and tomorrow for some candidates, who could not take the test.