The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is responsible for conducting the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for prospective undergraduates to gain admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
In 2014, JAMB introduced the Computer-Based Test (CBT) to replace the traditional Paper-Pencil Test. The CBT model was intended to be more effective and efficient in solving the problems of negative marking, missing scripts and malpractice challenges faced by the PPT mechanism.
Part of the process of the CBT model is the biometric capture and verification before sitting for the examination. There are, however, allegations that some 2020 UTME candidates are yet to sit for their UTME due to thumbprint issues, a necessary requirement and the students have lain the fault with JAMB. The candidates explained they were asked to fill a form at their respective examination centres with a promise that they will be contacted. But, since March 2020, candidates who spoke to this reporter claimed that none of them has been contacted.
As of now, the POST-UTME forms for some tertiary institutions like the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomosho and Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko Ondo State are out, and candidates who have been unable to capture and verify their biometrics will be denied the opportunity of obtaining the forms for respective schools of their choices. The further implication of this is that they risk losing admission opportunities into tertiary institutions in this academic session.
The delay in contacting the candidates can be said to be caused by COVID-19, which prompted the Federal Government (FG) to order the indefinite suspension of social and religious gatherings as well as the closure of schools on 27 March 2020. However, schools are now resuming their academic activities and nothing is being said about the UTME candidates delayed by this biometric verification issue.
Solomon Grace, a candidate affected by this delay laments about the implication of delay, saying: “The POST-UTME form for my institution of choice is out already and will be closing soon while I am yet to sit for my UTME to qualify [to obtain] the form.”
Another candidate, Adebiyi Okikijesu, who expressed his dissatisfaction on the biometric verification delay said: “I paid fully for my JAMB form just like many other candidates, but I am yet to sit for my [exams] because of thumbprint issues and it is not my fault and again time is going.”
Oladokun Deborah, another UTME candidate facing the same issue of biometric verification, said: “JAMB should not let this year be a waste for me because my prospective school POST-UTME is out and the hope of gaining admission this year should not be shattered because of thumbprint issues.”
Apparently, a potential undergraduate must sit for UTME and meet the grade requirement for his or her tertiary institution before qualifying to obtain the POST-UTME form of the institution of his or her choice. The refusal or denial to write and pass UTME automatically hinders a candidate from gaining admission, and a JAMB form can only be obtained once in a year.
Now that schools are now resuming in most states in Nigeria, it becomes critical that JAMB addresses the yearnings of candidates who are now being delayed or maybe totally prevented from sitting for the examination due to biometric verification.
Up until the time of gathering this report, JAMB is yet to respond neither to the complaints filed on its website nor the tweet thread tagging its official twitter handle.
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