By Funmilayo Adeyemi
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has created 11 centres for Persons With Disability (PWDs) for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME).
The Chairman, JAMB Equal Opportunity Group (JEOG) for the Abuja Centre, Prof. Sunday Ododo said this while addressing a news conference in Abuja on Friday.
Ododo commended the board’s Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede for the initiative to create the JEOG to give level playing ground for candidates sitting for UTME.
According to him, JAMB was aware of candidates with special needs who may not favourable compete with candidates without special needs.
”From 2017 till date, JEOG has processed over 2,600 candidates from these special community for the UTME.
”In 2019, out of the 390 special candidates that sat for the exam, 175 candidates were given admission.
“In 2020, 89 of the 351 special candidates that sat for the UTME got admissions.
”In 2021, a total of 110 blind candidates were given admission, out of the 332 that sat for the UTME.
” In 2022, 139 candidates gained admissions out of the 364 candidates that wrote the examinations. However, there is no favouritism in testing these candidates,” he said.
Ododo added that JEOG was initially created for virtually impaired candidates alone but it now catered for persons with albinism, down syndrome and those with attention deficit hyper active disorder.
”Before 2017, PWDs write the same examination with those without disabilities within the same time frame.
” But there were challenges which was why Oloyede created the group to address these challenges,” he added.
He said the mode of examination administration was blended- use of Personal Computers (PCs) and use of the traditional Braille slate and stylus/typewriters in writing answers to questions that were read out by a subject expert.
He listed the 11 centres for special candidates to be in Ado-Ekiti, Bauchi, Benin, Enugu, Jos, Kano, Kebbi, Lagos, Oyo, Yola and Abuja.
He said that JEOG had put a proposal to the board for gradual appropriation of ICT components into the administration of JEOG.
He also revealed that JAMB had approved that from 2024, there would be a gradual migration to the full CBT mode customised for blind candidates.
He said that a pilot run would be conducted later in the year to test this mode while also giving options to candidates who chose for fully Braille, fully CBT and full read-aloud modes.
In the same vein, Mr Jake Epelle, JEOG member, called on tertiary institutions to give opportunities to PWDs to study courses of their choices.
Epelle also commended the board for extending membership of JEOG to community leaders of PWDs.
The examination, being conducted by the board for the visually impaired candidates is being held between April 27 and April 29, under the supervision of the JAMB Equal Opportunity Group (JEOG). (NAN)