Is-haq Oloyede, the registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has hinted at the potential of postponing this year’s unified tertiary matriculation examination (UTME), which was scheduled for June 5 to 19.
He said the decision on whether to postpone or continue the inspection as planned would be made later on Friday at a meeting with involved individuals and institutions.
Mr Oloyede, who made the announcement during a virtual conference with relevant parties on Friday morning ahead of the examination, blamed the development on the candidates’ difficulty in registering.
Members of various volunteer groups who have been assisting the organisation in the conduct of its examinations since 2017 attended the conference.
Peter Okebukola, a retired professor of science education, chairs JAMB’s equal opportunity group, which is in charge of conducting examinations for blind candidates; and Chinwe Obaji, a former minister of education, heads the volunteer group of high-powered opinion leaders, which basically monitors the examination process.
Representatives from civil society and the media were also present, including the virtue vanguard and peace monitors, among others.
The registrar, on the other hand, verified that the mock exam, which is set for May 20, will take place as planned.
“We are here to congratulate you and also to apologise for putting you through some difficulties, particularly in your efforts to register,” he stated. The majority of these issues are beyond our control. They are related to government policies, over which we have little or no control.
“While the mock examination will take place as planned, we cannot guarantee that the main examination will. This is due mostly to NIN. We have over 600,000 candidates that have expressed interest in our exam but have not yet received their information.”
PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively revealed on Wednesday the problems faced by both candidates and other JAMB stakeholders in their attempts to participate in this year’s exams.
Meanwhile, Mr Oloyede, who praised this newspaper for “its well-informed report” on the possible extension of the registration deadline, said he couldn’t say whether or not the deadline would be extended.
He did confirm, however, that only about 1.1 million candidates have registered for the exam, despite the fact that the examination body is aiming for 1.9 million candidates.
He went on to say that the issue of telecommunication firms transmitting profile codes to end-users is due to technological difficulties faced by the respective organisations.
This is the way to go.
While verifying this newspaper’s earlier storey on the development, the registrar expressed his disappointment with the National Identity Management Commission, saying he was “positively displeased” (NIMC). He claimed that he had foreseen more issues than those currently being faced.
He said the examining body would host concerned parties, including NIMC leadership, representatives from the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), and other relevant individuals and organisations, between Friday night and early Saturday morning to assess the situation.
Mr Oloyede did say, however, that if it is revealed that 80% of people affected are those whose codes have been produced and may be given new passwords, the committee may decide not to extend the registration deadlines.
“Extending registration may not be the solution if we discover that we can offer 80% of people who attempted another password another password, then there will be no need to extend registration,” he stated.
“Before we can declare we’re extending, we need to figure out where the problem is coming from. Next today’s discussion, we will address the press on the conclusion of the discussion on the major examination day and registration the following day. We’d like to have a look at what’s going on.”
Meanwhile, the registrar announced that 802 computer-based testing centres have been permitted to take part in the exam. The 104 selected examination towns around the country are stated to have been defined for adequate identifying purposes.
He also hinted at some new features to look for during the exam, adding that candidates’ notification slips or test cards now include two passports.
“Most of the time, the two passports are the same. However, in other cases, they are not the same, particularly when the candidates’ faces are not the same as the owners of NIN,” Mr Oloyede explained.
He pointed out that in such a case, one of the two faces would be that of an impostor.
Participants praised the examination body for instilling a culture of transparency and decency in government, while also pledging their continuous support.