The registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Is-haq Oloyede, has hinted at the possibility of postponement of this year’s unified tertiary matriculation examination (UTME) which has been slated to hold between June 5 and 19.
He said the decision to either postpone the examination or to continue as scheduled would be taken later on Friday at a meeting billed to hold with concerned individuals and institutions.
Mr Oloyede, who disclosed this on Friday morning during a virtual meeting with relevant parties ahead of the examination, blamed the development on the difficulties being experienced by the candidates in their efforts to register.
The meeting was attended by members of various volunteer groups, which have been lending helping hands to the organisation in the conduct of its examinations since 2017.
Some of those in attendance at the meeting included Peter Okebukola, a retired professor of science education, who chairs JAMB’s equal opportunity group that is saddled with the responsibility of conducting examination for the blind candidates; Chinwe Obaji, a former minister of education, who heads the volunteer group of high-powered opinion leaders, which basically monitors the examination conducts, among other tasks.
There were also representatives of the civil society and mass media groups – the virtue vanguard, peace monitors, among others.
The registrar, however, confirmed that the mock examination, which is slated for May 20, will go on as scheduled.
He said; “We are here to commend you and also to apologise to you for putting you through some hardships, especially in your efforts to register. Most of these things are outside our purview. They have to do with government policies and we have little or no control over them.
“While the mock examination will go on as scheduled, we cannot say the same of the main examination. This is primarily because of NIN. We have more than 600,000 candidates who have indicated interest in our examination but are yet to receive their details.”
PREMIUM TIMES had on Wednesday exclusively reported the difficulties being experienced by both candidates and other concerned parties of JAMB in their efforts to take part in this year’s examination.
Meanwhile, Mr Oloyede, who commended this newspaper for “its well informed report” on the possible extension of the registration deadline, said he could not confirm whether the registration would be extended or not.
He, however, confirmed that only about 1.1 million candidates have so been registered for the examination, saying the examination body is targeting about 1.9 million candidates.
He added that the problem of transporting the profile codes to the end-users by the telecommunication companies is as a result of technical challenges being faced by the concerned organisations.
While confirming this newspaper’s earlier report on the development, the registrar noted that he was “positively disappointed” by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). He said he had anticipated bigger problems than those currently being experienced.
He said between Friday night and early Saturday morning, concerned parties, including NIMC’s leadership, representatives of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and other relevant individuals and organisations would be hosted by the examination body to appraise the situation.
Mr Oloyede, however, noted that the body may decide not to extend the registration deadlines if it is discovered that 80 per cent of those affected are those whose codes have been generated and can be provided with new passwords.
He said; “Extending registration may not be the solution if we find out that we can give 80 per cent of those who have made attempt another password, then there will be no need to extend registration.
“We have to determine where the problem is coming from before we can say we are extending. After today, we will address the press tomorrow on the outcome of the meeting on the main examination date and registration. We want to assess what is happening.”
Meanwhile, the registrar said a total of 802 computer-based centres have been approved for participation in the examination. These centres, which are scattered across 104 designated examination towns across the country, are said to have been delineated for proper identification purposes.
He also hinted at some new innovations to be noticed during the examination, saying two passports now appear on the notification slips or examination cards of the candidates.
“The two passports are most times one and the same. But in some other instances, they are different, especially when the faces of the candidates are different from the owners of NIN,” Mr Oloyede said.
He noted that in such a situation, one of the two faces would belong to an impersonator.
Participants commended the examination body for instituting the culture of transparency and decency in public administration, even as they pledged continued support for the body.