Some 1.7 million candidates are expected to sit for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), Ishaq Oloyede, the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, has said. Mr. Oloyede made the disclosure while fielding questions from journalists at the Information and Communication Technology Retreat on Tuesday in Abeokuta.
The retreat was attended by civil society groups, students and other officials in the education sector. The registrar said the board was also planning to increase its Computer Based Testing (CBT) Centres in order to the make examination exercise seamless. “We are expecting 1.7 million candidates to sit for JAMB this year and we want to make sure we satisfy them within a week or thereabout,’’ he said. It can be recalled that some 1,561,443 candidates sat for the UTME in 2016.
Mr. Oloyede said although he could not guarantee a hitch-free examination, the innovations being put in place “will send some illegal operators, who are defrauding candidates in the past, out of business.’’ He said the board would not be deterred in its mission to serve its candidates better this year.
“Frankly, I cannot promise a hitch-free examination because we are testing certain things.We are changing certain things; we want to question the status quo and we expect a fight back by interests that will be trampled upon. We are going to be as flexible as humanly possible; we are not promising hitch free examination.’’
Mr. Oloyede noted that the board had envisaged that there would be hitches, but that these would not be insurmountable. According to him, rather than promising hitch-free examination, the board promises a direction that all will be pleased with. He said that the major objective of the retreat was for stakeholders to critique the board’s processes, “because we will not want to continue in the wrong direction’’.
Mr. Oloyede said the board was planning to create new ICT facilities, and that prospective candidates, scholars, institutions and civil society groups were brought together to critique it. “This is to enable us harvest good ideas that can improve what we are doing,’’ he said. He said the CBT had come to stay, adding that four African countries had indicated interest to understudy the process in Nigeria. Mr. Oloyede also said that JAMB would soon begin the sale of forms for the 2017 UTME, adding that the board was also working on the possibility of conducting a mock examination.