Mixed reactions trail the conduct of the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), which started in all centres across Lagos on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that about 1.5 million candidates registered for the examination, which began nationwide in over 700 centres on Saturday.
The examination will end on July 3.
NAN correspondents who visited some centres in various parts of the state report that candidates trooped to the centres as early as 6.00 a.m. for the compulsory biometric verification exercise ahead of the examination.
The first day of the examination is expected to be conducted in two sessions – 9.00 a.m. and 11.00 a.m.
However, there were hitches in some centres, especially the private owned ones, visited by NAN correspondents.
The exercise recorded a lot of technical hitches, as candidates could not start the examination at the scheduled time.
The development has since generated reactions from anxious parents.
Some parents insisted that there was need for improvement on the entire process and other mechanisms, for the conduct of examination of this status.
In some centres around Ikotun Egbe and Palmgroove areas of the state, candidates who were scheduled for 9.00 a.m. could not start the examination until about 12.00 noon, due to technical issues.
A candidate at Daleware Institute of Technology, Palmgrove CBT centre, Ja’afar Omoniyi, told NAN that he arrived at the centre as early as 7.00 a.m.
“They delayed the biometric verification at this centre.
“it wasn’t until after 12.00 noon before they started calling those of us in the first batch,’’ Omoniyi told NAN.
At another centre, Wisdom House in the Ogba area, where candidates for 9.00 a.m. were supposed to conclude the examination by 11.00 a.m. also experienced technical hitches.
Mrs Philomena Nezieanya, a parent, whose daughter is scheduled for the examination at Sweet Valley School in Ikotun, told NAN that her daughter was supposed to be in the first batch for 9.00 a.m.
Nezieanya said that her daughter was still waiting to start the examination, as a result of what she described as ‘system failure’.
“This is frustrating and uncalled for and I think organisers of the examination should look deeper into the facilities some of these centres present to them, before giving them the go ahead to be part of an exercise of this magnitude.
“This entire development could have affected the psyche of these candidates and this should not be the cases.
“ As you can see, all candidates scheduled for the various sessions of the examination have come together now and the place is already rowdy,’’ she lamented.
At the Value Place College, CBT centre, Pipeline Idimu area, four candidates for the 9.00 a.m. session had issues with their biometrics and screening.
NAN reports that the development, if not rectified, could affect their chances of participating in this year’s examination.
However, in some other centres like WAEC Test and Training Centre in Ogba, WAEC International Office (WIO), Agidingbi, Datforth International School, Bakare Estate, Hamadiya, Abule-Egba, the case was different.
An official at the WAEC TTC Ogba, who preferred anonymity, described the conduct of the exercise so far, as top notch.
According to him, the candidates arrived in good time for their accreditation and search and have conducted themselves well.
He added that there had been no record of any hitch so far at the centre, adding that everything had been going on as planned.
“I want to say that I am very elated at the way everything is going on in this particular centre; it is giving me joy.
“From the security agents at the gate, the facilities and the candidates themselves, it has been so far so good.
“With what is on ground in this centre, I will want to encourage other centres to key in, in order to continually promote excellent and hitch-free conduct of examinations in the country,’’ the officer said.
When contacted, the Head of Media of the board, Dr Fabian Benjamin, expressed satisfaction at the conduct of the examination so far, nationwide.
He told NAN that the board was not unmindful of the hitches recorded in some centres across the country.
Benjamin assured that the board was on top of the situation.
“Yes, we are aware of the few technical hitches in some centres, but I want to assure you that we are on top of the situation.
“Being the first day of the examination, we are bound to witness few teething problems.
“But all I can say is that we have the mechanism to put all that under control.
“There is no need to panic, as we are working round the clock to ensure that every Nigerian child is given an equal opportunity,’’ he assured. (NAN)