By Promise Oshewa
“I had finished my SS3 and was looking forward to getting into the university and so I had to write JAMB. The first year, I had read for weeks for the exam, only to get to the centre, an my computer was malfunctioning. Of course I failed, the next year, everything went well, I wrote the examination without any issues and scored 294, I was now so so sure of admission, then when I went back to the check, our centre had a blank score. They said there was an issue, What uissue? Till date, no one has explained, I have decided to enroll for a Pre-degree programme”
This is a true story of Bernard, not real name who recounted his ordeal in the hands of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). The body is the Federal Government agency empowered to conduct matriculation examination for entry into all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
In addition, it empowered to appoint examiners, moderators, invigilators; place suitably qualified candidates in the tertiary institutions. It duties are humongous and it now seems the body is biting more than it can chew with the gale and tales of wore and the seeming unending challenges that had trailed its 2019 exams.
Just like the previous years, when students had to take manual test, its new computer-based tests have not solved its problem.
In 2015, when it decided to introduce the CBT, it was bedeviled by hitches: registration challenge,, random allocation of examination centres, shortage of centres and lack of efficient internet connectivity at centres.
Four years later, students and parents have not given the agency a clean bill of health. An angry Mrs Adetayo Koyejo revealed that her wad had to travel all the way to Delta State when she was informed that there was no longer space in the Lagos.
She narrated how they got to the centre for an examination billed for 4pm and had to wait till 7pm. What kind of punishment are we putting our youth through? She asked rhetorically.
In Lagos, candidates scheduled for the first session of the exam at 7:00a.m. and who did not want to be late, defied the early morning rain to ensure that they were at the exam venue as early as 6:00a.m at Funlearn Mind builders, Opebi, Lagos.
That day, the centre turned to a WrestleMania ring as students, parents and officials of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) went on rampage after the server went down for a long while few minutes into the examination.
The candidates who came prepared for the exam were disappointed when more than 30 of the computers being used automatically submitted and logged them out. Candidates who had barely attempted 10 questions were asked by the officials to step out of the hall after the time allotted for the 7:00a.m. set elapsed.
With full rage, parents and some of the students, already in tears, stormed the hall and disrupted the process for the next batch of candidates expected to sit for their examination at 9:00a.m.
Sources at CBT centres told TheBoss that some candidates who were unable to be verified were given forms to fill for JAMB to reschedule their examination.
Another major draw back is the new instruction from JAMB that candidates with biometric issues will have to come to its Abuja office to resolve the issue and also sit for the examination.
An exasperated Uzor Adiele wanted to know how that cannot be resolved at the state Headquarters of JAMB. Who will foot the bill of the transportation to Abuja, what of the accommodation and feeding. In this day of technology, why take such a draconian approach to problem solving?
Spokesperson of the Board, Mr Fabian Benjamin had stated that the reason for the introduction of the measure was stop it being used as an excuse to cheat.
“We noticed that some candidates will just go to the centres and say they cant register then, they begin to ask for a reschedule or a special day.
Even the mock exam also ran into hitches as only 245, 753 candidates took part in the examination out of the 1,657, 795 that registered for the examination.
In fact, two JAMB officials were attacked during the mock examination in Lagos. The officials according to Professor Ishaq Oloyede, the JAMB Registrar were attacked at the Lagos Polytechnic Centre.
According to him the officials would have been set ablaze but for some quick intervention. We were told that some candidates were protesting the poor state of the facilities and the atmosphere become charged and emotional, leading a complete breakdown of law and order.
Now that the 2019 examinations are over, it is time for JAMB and its officials to begin to clean up its acts by ensuring a hitch-free 2020 examination.