interviewBy Damilola Oyedele
Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Dibu Ojerinde speak on plans to collaborate with some stakeholders on the proposed Computer-based Testing (CBT); challenges envisaged; and reasons for the gradual phase out of the Paper Based Test (PBT), among other issues.
Are there plans by the board to collaborate with other agencies to conduct the CBT?
Yes, we will collaborate with government agencies and by that I mean those establishments that have computer-based testing centres and they are specifically universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. Of course, there are some private establishments that have testing centers too. We will collaborate with them and even individuals who have met our criteria.
Since the plan is to phase out the Paper- based Test (PBT) by 2015, what if candidates still continue to show preference for it?
They will definitely prefer it, because they have options. With time, there will be no options and they will have no choice. To be forewarned is to be fore-armed, and that is why we have said that by 2015, we will only have CBT. Those who will write JAMB in 2015, have three years to get ready.
Do you envisage challenges such as power, internet speed, etc?
Yes, power depends on the owner of the centre. If the owner does not have the facilities that will meet our needs, we will not accredit such centre because the service being provided is not for free. To use it, the center has to provide all it takes to use it. It is just like using an event centre, if you have an event centre and you want people to patronise it, you must have steady power, air conditioning, security, furniture and others. It is the same situation.
We have identified at least 329 centers in this country that want to participate. We cannot use all of them because a centre must have a minimum of 150 terminals before we can use it. Some of them have what it takes, while others do not have enough terminals, of course they promised to increase the number of terminals before then.
What informed the decision to adopt CBT and why the gradual adoption model?
We have many reasons, first, technology is the answer to all the problems of man now and we decided to go technology. If we do not go tech now, it will do it later, but it may be a wrong time. The whole world is going technological, why is it that Nigeria is not ready? We are underrating our children; most of them know what to do with computers. The minimum use of technology is our mobile phone and anyone that can use it can do the CBT.
Secondly, there are predominant problems in the PBT- transporting materials, having to provide security for the materials, printing, incomplete printing, delay in arrival of materials and others. We do not want such things to happen anymore. CBT will reduce examination malpractice seriously. In fact, a candidate has to be a very determined cheater to be able to cheat on the CBT.
We also expect it to be cheaper later, as we are just starting it. Economy of numbers would suffice when there are more people taking it and the price will go down. We are using the same rate for the PBT because we know that not many people will like to take the CBT now, we are projecting for just between 150,000 -250,000 candidates.
Have you done any test run?
Yes, we did it twice; one at a computer testing centre and the second at our office. By December 5, we will test run in at least six centres all over the country simultaneously- Ilorin, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja, we are also planning to include Kaduna.
CBT reduces cheating; the results are available almost immediately. A candidate can press a button that will give the results, but for safety reasons for our equipment, we will like the candidates to get out of the environment first before they get their results; 30 minutes after the examination, they will get their results.