Nigeria: Candidates With Biometric Issues May Sit for Exams At Board's Headquarters

15 April 2019

Abuja — Candidates who were unable to sit for the biometric verification for the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), may be rescheduled to take the examination at the headquarters of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), in Bwari Area Council, Abuja.

Sources at CBT centres visited in Abuja told journalists that some candidates who were unable to be verified were given forms to fill for JAMB to reschedule their examination.

JAMB had earlier scheduled just about 20 candidates having issues with biometric verification to take the examination at its headquarters.

However, at least five centres visited by THISDAY in Abuja, had challenges with the computer capturing a few of the candidates.

Biometric verification was introduced by the examination body in 2014 to fend off identity theft, which was common in public examination in the country.

At Government Security School Tudun Wada, Zone 4, a candidate could not be verified because of excessive sweating on his palms, while at Digital Bridge Institute Jabi, one candidate could not also be verified.

Some of the centres such as Global Distance Learning Institute at Central Area, JC Best International School Jabi, and Sascon International School, Maitama, however had no issues as the examination went orderly in all three sessions.

But Dominion International School Jabi, had at least nine candidates with biometric verification challenges in two separate days and candidates were given forms to fill, which would be forwarded to the JAMB headquarters.

Officials supervising the exercise also caught a candidate cheating during the exam through the secret cameras installed at the centre.

A source told journalists that the candidate filled an examination malpractice form, which will be submitted to JAMB.

It was also observed that some candidates at the centre were not computer-literate and had problems logging in. Officials at the centre were seen attending to several hands signalling for attention.

A former Minister of Education, Prof. Chinwe Obaji, who monitored the exercise in some parts of Nasarawa State and the FCT, noted that JAMB has improved tremendously in the conduct of the UTME.

Obaji scored the examination body high for upping its ante in the conduct of the UTME, adding that contrary to the hitches observed during the first day of the exercise in 2018, most of the centres in 2019 were able to conduct their three sessions on the first day.

She said centres monitored by her had only minor issues that were promptly rectified by JAMB's technical staff, while lauding the coordination between JAMB's field staff and the head office, as both were constantly in touch to ensure smooth conducted of the examination.

On the issue of some students unable to log in for lack of computer literacy, the former minister said the problem was not that of JAMB or the centres but a national issue that the country is gradually overcoming.

Obaji however, recommended computer literacy programme for primary schools and JSS for pupils to be introduced to the use of computers as technology is ruling the world and Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind.

Also speaking, the Director JC Best International School, Mr. Kingsley Onuorah, said the school had procured furniture and relevant equipment to upgrade its JAMB-approved Computer Based Test (CBT), Centre after the ongoing UTME.

Onuorah noted that efforts to upgrade the already well-equipped and functional centre were the resolve of the school and its management to raise the facilities to the highest standard.

While conducting journalists round the stack of imported customised tables and workstations, the school proprietor noted that he had asked a delegation from JAMB to delay the accreditation of the centre until the furniture were fully installed but the board insisted that what it had on ground was enough for approval.

He disclosed that despite being the first time the school was approved by JAMB to host the conduct of the UTME exercise, no incidents were recorded, adding that over 250 more students were redistributed from other centres to sit for the examination within its premises.

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