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Tackling examinations woes with e-Solution

By Adeyemi Adepetun and Bankole Orimisan
03 February 2015   |   11:00 pm
THE issue of examination failures is gradually becoming a national emergency and until urgent measures are adopted  from all ends, the menace may become uncontrollable in another few years.    As such, in recognition of this fact the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has partnered two indigenous software companies, Cinfores Limited and WaveTek Nigeria…

Jack

THE issue of examination failures is gradually becoming a national emergency and until urgent measures are adopted  from all ends, the menace may become uncontrollable in another few years.

   As such, in recognition of this fact the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has partnered two indigenous software companies, Cinfores Limited and WaveTek Nigeria Limited, which will see the deployment Information and Communication Technology in tackling the challenge.

   The partnership was consummated recently, when the agency witnessed the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) with WaveTek and Cinfores Limited on deployment of a special version of Nigeria’s foremost e-learning and examination preparatory software, Cinfores BrainFriend. 

   The special version, which is customised for the forthcoming 2015 JAMB UTME is known as JAMB BrainFriend. Also present in the ceremony is Microsoft Nigeria Education Lead, Patrick Onwumere.

    Speaking on the development, the Director General of NITDA, Peter Jack, said the agency keyed into the initiative as part of its effort to deepen and encourage local content development in education and other sectors of the economy as mandated by the ACT setting up the agency.

    “Based on the transformation agenda of Mr. President, the Federal Government of Nigeria is doing everything possible to ensure that the Nigerian educational system is improved and made world class. There is certain decline in quality of education in our country. The mass failure in UTME and other national examinations in recent years, as a case in point, is a mixture of many things including the non-availability of quality local resources to change the tide of mass failure and exam malpractice that has plagued the nation,’’ he said. 

   The NITDA boss also stated that NITDA as an IT agency is committed to transforming every sector in the country through the introduction of ICT. He pointed out that in its various effort to ensure qualitative education in the country, NITDA would engage various local and international organisations to develop locally adapted solutions that will meet the needs of the sector. He added that the agency would do everything possible, within its disposal, to support the partnership between the two companies. 

   In his remarks, the Managing Director of Cinfores Limited, Asawo Ibifuro, said the software companies decided to introduce the examination software, Jamb BrainFriend to arm Nigerian students to be better prepared for the forth coming JAMB examination. 

   Asawo, who frowned at the increasing rate of failure of students in JAMB examinations, said the software company, ‘‘is committed to helping the students and exam candidates to adequately prepare and pass their various educational examinations by developing the customized version that would help them overcome any kind of questions that come their way.

     He also noted that the software, apart from arming the students for their exams, it would also prepare them and erase any phobia or myths surrounding the electronic JAMB examination, which is taking off this year.” He however, assured the candidates that the software would definitely help them in minimizing the high rate of failure in forth-coming JAMB exams if it is effectively utilised.

   On his part, the Managing Director of WaveTek Nigeria Limited, Ken Spann, said the two companies realized the danger of examination mass failure in Nigeria, a reason, he said informed the development of JAMB BRAINFRIEND software to carter for the challenge of mass failure in UTME, which was above seventy-five percent (75 per cent) in 2014. Spann who had earlier spent about eleven years promoting Microsoft Education via Microsoft IT Academies at Microsoft USA and Nigeria respectively, further enthused that, “Through WaveTek’s strong network in education, we are collaborating with Cinfores as their marketing partner and ensuring that BrainFriend is used by the over 1.4 million candidates registered for JAMB UTME scheduled for March, 2015”.

   According to them, the software can be accessed at every JAMB form selling point across the country. In his closing remarks, the DG of NITDA, promised to make the JAMB BrainFriend available at all the NITDA digital centres across the country, to enable the candidates access the software.

     He also promised to reach out to the NCC and the USPF to make available the software in their Community Communication Centres in other to extend the reach of the software to all Nigerian students, especially the candidates who cannot afford either a PC or mobile device to activate the software for their personal use.

   As you may know, Cinfores Limited had in the last 10 years pioneered locally developed e-learning and exam preparatory software also known as Cinfores BrainFriend. The software, which was borne out of the concern of mass failure and examination fraud, has evolved into an indispensable tool for teachers and students at all levels of education. The premium version of the software has the following features over 57,000 questions, answers and explanations; contains over 20,000 theorems, definitions and formulae; cvers about 50 subjects (including Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo Languages); prototype questions for WAEC, NECO and JAMB; 

career counselling guide; quick references and easy to use study notes for over 30 subjects;

national curriculum; performance tracking, among others.

   The special JAMB BrainFriend was subsequently developed to provide a customised version for the forthcoming 2015 UTME. Having in mind the high rate of failure that has plagued the exam in recent years and the introduction of Computer Based Testing, Cinfores Limited decided to release a customised version to directly address the needs of the JAMB UTME candidates to enable them prepare adequately as well as retain the knowledge gained through the use of the of BrainFriend. 

   After the development of the Special version for the Forth-coming JAMB UTME, the organisation sort for a partnership with WAVETEK Nigeria Limited an IT company that is highly focused on education service delivery on the marketing of the JAMB BRAINFRIEND.

   Cinfores Limited and Wavetek Nigeria Limited had before now, partnered to deploy the premium version of the software in Anambra State in 2013 in over 20,000 computers donated to over 200 schools for the use of over 500,000 students by the state government. This deployment, which is described as one of the massive ICT deployment in education by a state government in Nigeria has helped to improve students’ academic performance in national examinations. WaveTek is also known for doing a pilot for NCC deploying the first and only 2Gb/second wireless transmission in Nigeria and Africa. 

   Both organisations are optimistic that with the new wave of public and private sector deployment of locally adapted ICTs for the education sector in the country, most of the challenges faced in the sector will be history. The CEOs also seized the opportunity to call on all well-meaning Nigerians, organisations and institutions operating in the country to support the effort by acquiring the licenses of the software and make it available to pupils, students and teachers even as they go about their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) of donating and supporting schools, students and teachers with PCs and mobile devices across the country.

    Parents and teachers were also urged to download the mobile version of the software on their android or windows devices to enable their wards who may not have devices to access the software pending when they can get a device for them. This is to ensure that at least 60 per cent of the candidates preparing for the examination have access to the software and are able to use it to prepare adequately for the forth-coming examination in order to improve the success rate this year.