Ahead of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), which will commence on March 9, the CBT Centre Proprietors Association of Nigeria has appealed to the board to give it a reasonable timeline to factor in its technical capacity in readiness for the examination.
The association expressed concern about the marching order given by JAMB to the CBT centre owners to download the board’s software on a Sunday, less than 24 hours to the commencement of the mock which ended last week.
The Chairman of the association, Mr. Alexander Ogedengbe, who briefed journalists at the end of its one-day seminar on JAMB UTME 2018 ethics, metrics and technicalities, said “we will want them to be aware that the time they mandated us to go and download the browser to use for the examination was very short. It was less than 24 hours to the mock exam on Sunday morning. There are many people that had to go to church on that day. Because we had to build this country, we obeyed and went to the centre, we believe that in that area, JAMB should be able to improve and give us reasonable time to get it done.”
He said for that kind of exercise, the board should have considered the de-merits as well. “They ought to co-opt two of our own technical teams into their own so that while they are trying to look at the advantages, they are also looking at the disadvantages to us. The JAMB browser didn’t function at our centre.”
He noted that the board had accused his centre located at Ogba of complexity in examination malpractices, saying that as a result the association had to organise an enlightenment seminar to educate themselves.
“Last year, after the examination, we believed that we had done our own part very well but JAMB authority came up to say that it was marred by malpractices but the observers adjudged the exam to be malpractice free, so we had to organise the enlightenment programme among ourselves. We are convinced because the people here are men of integrity who want to contribute their quota to the education development of the country. As operators of CBT, we need to be up and doing through professional ethics of the exam and in the area of technicalities to make it corruption free in Nigeria.”
A member of the association’s technical team, Mr. Seyi Adegboyega said there are procedures to make a software work on one’s system, adding that it is another thing to cascade the process at various centres.
“We don’t have the same technical expertise, there is no security volatility that can compromise the browser few hours to the exam. JAMB does not duly follow procedures for what it takes to carry a software throughout test stages. It is not a business centre where you are going to release software. For people at the receiving end, technical capacity is very important.
I think JAMB has not factored in this and also it is practically impossible for you to use a software like that to be installed on 275 systems. To start doing the adjustment in less than 24 hours to the exam is not professional.”
The National President, Mr. Austin Ohaekelem said though the introduction of software got the association unaware.
“Twenty four hours to that time, I did a mail to the director of IT Services on a lot of issues. Unfortunately, no response from the board. The next thing we saw was that we should go to the CBT centre in the morning to download the browser and get it running for the mock.
“We invited JAMB for the seminar, but they did not come. We wanted them to listen to us and to feel our pulse.”
In a telephone conversation with the Spokesperson of JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjamin on the development, he told THISDAY that “we are trying to protect the sanctity of our examination. What we do is security in nature,” adding that he was not aware that the board was invited for any seminar by the association.