By Oji Odu
How ready is the Joint Admission and Martriculations Board (JAMB) saddled with the responsibility of conducting examinations into the nations tertiary institutions to conduct this year’s examinations from March 9 to March 17 with all the mysterious scandals that have engulfed the board in recent times?
Head, Media and Information, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Febian Benjamin, had on Sunday, February 17, said the much anticipated conduct of the 2018 Mock Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) would now hold on Feb. 26.
According to him, a total of 245,753 of the 1,652,795 candidates that registered for this year’s UTME are expected to write the test. “We are happy to announce to the public that the board has concluded arrangement for the conduct of the mock UTME, slated for Monday, February 26.
“This is irrespective of the ongoing strike embarked upon by members of non-academic unions of federal universities nationwide. Candidates will soon be informed on when to print notifications for the examination and in addition, notifications will be sent through e-mails and text messages on the schedules of their examination,” Benjamin said.
He explained that the examination was expected to be hitch free because the board had successfully reduced incidences of malfunctioning of computers by electronically integrating the systems to see their functionality and effectiveness through link tests. This exercise will detect and eliminate the systems that will not be seen, and they will not be used for the exam proper in March.
Benjamin stated that forms for the mock examination will be free unlike last year because of the pro-activeness and efficiency of the board’s profile generating regime in ensuring that candidate do not waste resources. The 2018 exercise sold a total of 1, 966,918 candidate generating profiles.
“By this method, candidates will first have to generate personal profiles before proceeding to obtain pins, in between which they are open to deciding whether to go ahead to pay for the registration documents or otherwise,” Benjamin explained.
With the mystery snake which is still keeping the board’s missing N36 million from the vault still at large, and with no snake charmers still unable to smoke it out, not a few Nigerians, especially this year’s JAMB candidates are afraid that it might also swallow the hard drive, flash drive or system where the questions are kept for safety.
In a chat with the Magazine, Paul Ekwo, an Educationist who operates a private Primary and Secondary school in Ikorodu, Lagos said: “ The situation calls for great concern. If a snake could swallow N36 million without being seen, that same snake in agreement with other undetected ones also in JAMB can duplicate the questions and make effortless billions of naira. I fear for this year’s JAMB examinations.”
Meanwhile, less than a week after a mystery snake reportedly swallowed the sum of N36 million realised from sale of the JAMB scratch cards by the examination body’s sales clerk in Benue state, Philomena Chieshe, another fraud of N26m has been uncovered in its Nasarawa state office.
Labaran Tanko, former Nasarawa state Coordinator of JAMB who is at the centre of the fraud had allegedly embezzled the money he generated from the sale of scratch cards before the use of cards by candidates to either gain access to JAMB website for registration or other services, was banned in 2016. He however put up a strange defence to exonerate himself.
Head, Media Unit of the board, stated that the ex-state coordinator has apologised to the JAMB audit team vetting the examination board’s financial books for his inability to account for the money for unknown reasons, although he did not provide Tanko’s confessional statement.
With the main JAMB examinations almost at hand, both government and the board have a lot to do ensure, not only a hitch free exams, but a free and fair one too. This is, indeed, a war to regain the people’s confidence in an already crisis ridden educational sector.