By Chinyere Nwachukwu
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has given an assurance of a hitch-free 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), as it concludes plans to kickstart the process on Feb.14.
The Registrar of the board, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He spoke on the sidelines of a meeting with Commissioners of Education of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Oloyede said that the board had put machinery in place to tackle most of the challenges recorded during the conduct of the past examinations.
“Today’s meeting is to brief the commissioners on our level of preparedness for the upcoming examination and to seek their kind support, as critical stakeholders, to ensure that the exercise is a huge success.
“Recall that this meeting is usually held every examination year with the commissioners, to brief them on what we are doing as it concerns the entire examination process, making it inclusive, robust and interactive as much as we can.
“Again, we disclosed to the commissioners, how their states are faring, especially to encourage them in our appeal for collaboration for the establishment of world class Computer Based Test ( CBT) centres nationwide.
“We showed them the result of the 2023 centre accreditation for the conduct of the examination nationwide, which proved that just a total of 600 centres have been approved, out of the over 800 that applied,” he said.
According to him, the approved figure is 140 less than the total number used for the same exercise in 2022.
The JAMB boss noted that the implication of this was that there would be a sharp drop in the number of personnel that would be engaged for the entire examination process.
“If you calculate the 10 staff being used per centre, you will understand the magnitude of what I have just explained,” he stated.
Oloyede, however, said that the commissioners had appealed that they would be glad to see the inadequacies of the centres, particularly the public ones, to see if they could intervene.
He said that the commissioners had also been charged to join hands with the board, in its effort to fight examination malpractice.
Also speaking, the Director, Media and Protocol, Dr Fabian Benjamin, assured that there would be no clash between the board’s examination and the forthcoming election.
“Like we all know, it is an election year, but we have lined up our activities in such a way that it will not be affected by the elections.
“So, I want to seize this opportunity too to tell prospective candidates and members of the public generally that there will be no clash.
“The commission whose job it is to conduct the elections has the capacity, just like the board, to carry out their separate functions effectively without one disturbing the other,” he noted.
On their part, some of the commissioners told NAN that the initiative was a welcome development, noting that it was fruitful.
Mrs Ngozi Chuma Ude, Anambra Commissioner for Education, described the registrar as a trailblazer, who had invested so much to revolutionalise examination process in the country.
“I want to commend the registrar for what he is doing in a bid to sanitise the education system.
“JAMB has indeed set a record. This meeting is to keep us abreast with the activities of the board and it is worth commending.
“The major take home here for me is how to partner with it to tackle the ugly trend of examination malpractice.
“Corruption has been enshrined in the conduct of examination in this country, especially public examinations, that at a certain stage, people began to lose hope in the UTME, which is why they found it necessary to introduce the Post UTME.
“But as we speak, faith on the UTME is being renewed, going by the huge investments and other initiatives put in place by the current registrar,” she said.
According to her, with the revolution introduced by the JAMB boss, corruption has been curbed and examination malpractice reduced drastically.
Prof. Uche Eze, Enugu Commissioner for Education, described the meeting as the way to go, especially as it concerned examination malpractice in public examinations in the country.
“Since I became Commissioner, this is the first time I will be having this kind of interaction with JAMB.
“As you may know, commissioners are the major stakeholders when it comes to the UTME, which is a yearly ritual.
“They are in charge of the schools and the students who register and write the examination.
“So, it is not out of place to carry them along, get them properly informed about their activities as it concerns the entire exercise.
“This will enable them to have first hand information that will guide and assist the students concerning the task ahead.
“Therefore, I will describe what has happened here today as an excellent initiative, as we are more informed of the activities of the board, as well as areas for collaboration and intervention,” he said.
Recall that JAMB has fixed Saturday, Jan. 14 for the commencement of registration for its 2023 UTME.
It noted that the registration exercise would end on Feb. 14.
The Direct Entry (DE) registration is billed to begin on Feb. 20 and end on April 20.
JAMB has slated April 29 for the conduct of the UTME to begin, to run till May 12.(NAN)