Across Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, late commencement characterised the 2023 mock Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) on Thursday.
The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), which administers the UTME for admission seekers, organised a mock test for 176,408 candidates in 725 centres nationwide ahead of the actual examinations scheduled for 29 April through 12 May.
PREMIUM TIMES’ reporter who visited some centres in Abuja, reported widespread delay in the commencement of the computer-based tests.
JAMB, which acknowledged the hitches experienced by candidates, has promised to reschedule the tests for the candidates affected.
Willstrom CBT Centre, Abuja
At Wilstrom ICT and JAMB CBT Centre, opposite the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA) event centre in Mambilla Barracks, Asokoro, students who were scheduled to take their tests by 7 a.m said they were asked to wait until 2 p.m due to technical hitches.
“I have been here since morning for the 7 a.m. schedule but we have been asked to wait till 2p.m. Those who are scheduled for 9a.m were later asked to enter for their exam,” a candidate, identified simply as Michael, who resides in Dutse in the FCT, told PREMIUM TIMES at about 11:301.m on Thursday.
Aduvie International School
The same scenario played out at Aduvie International School, Jahi, Abuja, according to candidates interviewed by our reporter.
At about 12:43p.m when our reporter visited the centre, a candidate, Feranmi Oladimeji, said she was yet to take the tests. Ms Oladimeji said the 7a.m batch were yet to sit the exam at the time “due to internet network challenge”.
“They said network and for the past two hours, they didn’t give us any information and now we are hearing that it’s until 2 o’clock,” she said.
READ ALSO: JAMB releases 2022 UTME results
Another student whose schedule was at 9 a.m at the centre, said they were already allowed into the hall but could not start due to technical issues.
“Nobody in my hall has started,” he said. “They did not say we should wait, they’re just saying we should be patient.”
He, however, said other candidates in a different hall are taking the tests.
More Nigerians lament
Other Nigerians have also taken to social media to lament the hitches encountered at various CBT centres around the country.
A social media user, @Osasbabyy, lamented the situation, noting that the same problem she faced in 2016 was still faced by her sister who sat the mock test on Thursday.
“I took my sister to write her JAMB (UTME) mock exam today. The problem I had in 2016 is what they’re still having now. Computers are still going off mid-exams, nothing is funny,” she posted on Twitter.
Another user, @AlbertIwuchukwu, tweeted: “JAMB had better sat up. A mock exam billed to start 7am is starting 3:45pm. This is height of irresponsibility! These children were given neither water nor food till almost 6p.m. After we will expect them to pass!”
A parent, Taiwo Ojo, with the handle, @HospitalityArc1, said: “What happened at the JAMB mock exam centre at the RCCG camp today was a disaster. 6a.m to 6p.m wait, yet my daughter and other children faced traumatic stress as the server kept logging them out. The exercise is better cancelled. No window dressing helps.”
“@JAMBHQ This is to inform JAMB of the disappointing experience at one of the CBT centre. DALEWARES at Palmgrove is yet to conduct the Mock exams scheduled for today. Immediate action should be taken as all the candidates are frustrated. This centre has no capacity to conduct JAMB (UTME),” another user, @TMan20971060, tweeted.
JAMB acknowledges hitches, reschedule tests
Meanwhile, the examination body said it would reschedule the tests for affected candidates at no cost to them.
“These candidates will be rescheduled to sit the examination at a date to be announced later at no cost to them,” JAMB’s Head, Public Affairs and Protocol, Fabian Benjamin, said in a statement.
The mock UTME in itself was to assess new initiatives before their deployment in the actual UTME tests, Mr Benjamin said.
He said: “The introduction of the Mock-UTME by theJoint Admissions and Matriculation Board was aimed at providing the Board with the opportunity to assess innovations that would be used for the main examination as well as allow candidates to have hands-on experiences on the CBT environment.
“The Board would want to use this opportunity to apologise to all candidates for any inconvenience they might have experienced on account of this.”
He said the board would look at all issues thrown up by the mock exercise and act accordingly for a better and enhanced exercise.
He added that the process was part of “a development process aimed at enhancing the board’s efforts at improving the quality, security and sanctity of its services and as well as using (the) same to herald the next phase of its transformational agenda.”
“The gains from the exercise cannot be quantified as the Board has taken note of the challenges thrown up and had, consequently, been better placed to deliver a seamless UTME exercise comes April, 2023 in line with its projections,” he added.
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe
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