'JAMB Will Eliminate Mushroom CBT Centres to Protect Integrity of UTME'

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Penultimate week, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board(JAMB) concluded the conduct of its Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) which saw about 1.7 million candidates sitting for it. The Registrar, Professor Is-haq Oloyede who was in JKK CBT Centre, Lagos for on-the-spot assessment told Journalists including Funmi Ogundare that the board would by next year, no longer allow mushroom CBT centres to operate so as to protect the sanctity and integrity of the examination, among other issues

Having gone round to monitor the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board(JAMB) across the country, where about 1.7 million candidates sat for the examination, the board had observed the fraudulent practices carried out by some of the Computer Based Centres (CBT), despite some of the challenges such as manpower shortage; network and power failures it faced.

For instance, the board discovered that despite the poor standard of facilities at some of the CBT centres, they were collecting outrageous amount of money from poor and unsuspecting candidates aside the official amount of N5,500 to alter their registration online.
The Registrar of the board, Professor Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede expressed his displeasure over this issue saying, “ what we have seen is that we still have a long way to go , we have seen that our people are very clever and wise. For instance, when I was saying students must register the 10 fingers for biometric capturing, we didn’t know they were ahead of us. We have now been able to catch two persons who registered with different hands. That means, the impersonator and the person being impersonated went in collaboration with some of these CBT centres and after screening them they paid the centres some money. We never imagined that somebody could go to that level.

“When the candidates come up for the examination, by the time we test their fingers, we discovered that there were impersonators. As they are creating such problem, we have to be ahead of them . We might not even need your fingerprints next year. There are other technologies that once you pass through them, everything about the candidate is captured , we will not even need to move in that direction. We believe that people should use their intelligence and education in a positive manner. People are so criminally innovative and that is not helpful for planning.”

He believes that one fundamental mistake that people make, is for tutorial centres to also register students for CBT, saying, “ I think its a major error on our part, because they do every thing possible to make sure that they attract customers . They now have VIP rooms, where they will connect a cable to a special room and collect a lot of money from the special candidates. While we are in the exam hall conducting the exam, we will not know, and that was why we had to create an avenue from our server to monitor how many people are writing the exam. What we discovered is that they will be physically there but they are doing nothing. It is the people who are in the VIP rooms that are doing the exam for the VIP sitting in the exam hall and pretending to be writing the exam.”

Oloyede said most of the problems created during the registration were there as a result of non-compliance and centres not opening enough points.
“Many of those mushroom centres do not deserve to be heard because they established CBT centre in order to defraud the innocent candidates. We have seen cases of some of them conniving with the students and giving them fake questions and by the time the candidates get to the exam hall, they will experience problems, ” the registrar said

He argued that most private schools were extorting students by collecting a minimum of N15,000 for JAMB registration of N5,500 saying, “I can say 70 percent of them are doing this. The most sympathetic was the one that collected N8000 . They would go and register these candidates en masse and in the process of doing that, they miss the statistics of the students and when they question some of the CBT centre owners, they will deliberately make mistakes because they know they will collect N1000 from the candidates for editing.
“By the time we put the results on our website asking people to go there and print their results, they will end up going to the cybercafé to print it where they will collect money from them.”
The registrar said the exam body will do a reassessment of some of the CBT centres, adding that the board had to disqualify four out of 69 centres in Lagos during the last examination.

“Having gone round, of the figure, I do not see 30 centres being up-to-date and meeting our set rules. . It is one of the reasons why I will call on rectors, vice chancellors and provost, and well established bodies like JKK that we need to put our heads together to protect the sanctity of our examination , and create mega centres where we can have 10 centres in one. That is taking 2500 candidates at once .
“So we will encourage those who have the capacity to establish CBT centres, we will not allow private people to run the CBT privately. One of the options we are looking at is that they should hand over to those who are managing CBT centres and we accredit those managers and during our examination, they must not be around, ” he said , adding that it would license people who would do the right thing such that if any student is not able to write the examination at the right time, there would a penalty they would pay to JAMB.

Emphasising on why he decided to pick JKK as a point of interest, he said, “when I started CBT in 2007, It was with JKK. I initiated it in the same year I became vice chancellor in University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) and returned from a training from the United Kingdom(UK) on biometrics . I came back with the idea that for classes with more than 500 candidates, what is being done elsewhere is automated marking. So I had to invite JKK to UNILORIN to start the CBT.

“I have seen that they have perfected our vision at that time because when you go round, you will see that it is the biometric centre unlike the mushroom ones that you have found. JKK is very important for me and that is why I picked it among other places. We also want to ensure that we put our heads together and see whether or not we should eliminate some of these mushroom centres who are there to make illegal money.
“For us, the sanctity and integrity of the exam really matter to us. That is why we have seized all the means that the fraudulent centres employ. What is important to me is that those being defrauded deserve no sympathy.”

Reacting to the issue of using CCTV cameras at the centres, he said it is to enable the board to see if there were incidents of examination malpractices and prevent a situation that would prevent candidates who did not pass exam to become agitated.
According to him, “ for some environmental reasons, we dont release the results immediately to ensure that we go through the rudiments of the CCTV camera to see what has happened, we want to see whether there has been incidents of malpractices. When we were saying there should be CCTV camera, people criticized me , but we were able to trace some persons who are now in police custody and even confessed. One of them collapsed immediately he saw himself where he was hiding a phone.

“If not that Nigerians value somethings for some reasons, my intention is to have withheld the results for one week, but people will still complain. The normal thing elsewhere is that after the exam, experts will sit down and view all the centres, but if we say we want to do that, some will say we want to doctor the results. There are certain things we do here because of environmental factors that are not done elsewhere.”
Oloyede however has a word for parents who help their children to cheat in examination saying, “I was at a CBT centre in Anthony, Lagos, and the parents were more than the candidates trying to see who they can talk to, to assist their children in the exam hall. We have gone this bad that parents do not even expect their children to respect them. If you go and arrange such a thing for your child, he may not have respect for you because he will know that you are a crook.

“How can you say you are a good ambassador of your family when the child knows that the parent is a crook? That is why we are breeding all kinds of characters who are coming out in all facets of our public life because the family integrity has been eroded. I believe that by next year, we would have moved to another stage. To be licensed now for CBT, we have to ask more questions.

“All those who are interested in training students for UTME, let them be just lesson room and if you want to be exam centre, then be an exam centre. For instance, a lesson teacher collected the email address of all the students and changed their passwords so that all the mails we sent to the candidates will go to the lesson teacher to defraud them. That was why we made the notification available on our website. We discovered that some of them have the registration numbers of these students and they were going on our website to do something that will be inimical to the candidates, such that if a candidates had registered in Lagos, they will change it to Calabar because they have access.

“I don’t blame them, I blame the parents because they want their wards to have university education at all cost even when they are not matured enough for it. That is why they are following them all about. It is because they are not matured or prepared for tertiary education, that is why lecturers can harass them in the classroom.
“I think we are getting it wrong. We should train these children in such a way that they would be able to protect and defend their integrity, rather than throw in the towel for anybody who is ready to defraud them. These people are paying N18,000 or N20,000 to fraudsters so the N5,500 is for what purpose?”