As the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board commenced its 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations on Saturday, candidates have decried certain experiences which they said made them “uncomfortable.”
According to a candidate (name withheld) who wrote his examinations at Kunike International School, Ilesa Road, in Osogbo, Osun State, when they logged on as the examinations commenced, the computers had told some of the candidates, “No exams for you,” resulting in unease and fear.
The candidate said he experienced bad network and wrong password as he tried to log-in into the JAMB website.
He alleged that the computer systems at Kunike “denied many candidates access to the UTME site, which eventually led to distraction before the intervention of the coordinator and normalcy was later returned.”
“The computer will tell us, ‘No exams for you,’ which made some of us to become uncomfortable. Some candidates had to be taken from one position to another position just to ensure easy access to the portal,’’ he said.
However, despite the hitches occasioned by poor internet facilities and irregular power supply at the centres, many candidates commended JAMB, just as others expressed disappointment.
The examinations are computer-based.
Some of the candidates who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in some parts of the country decried poor internet network.
NAN however observed orderliness at most of the examination centres visited, while students took their turns to write the exam.
The 2017 UTME which commenced at about 8:30a.m. on Saturday is a two-hour exam for every batch and is expected to hold for seven days, excluding Sundays, across the country.
Some of the candidates in Federal Capital Territory, Osun, Ebonyi and Nasarawa states expressed dissatisfaction over poor internet challenges at their respective CBT centres, especially at Kunike International School, Ilesa road, in Osogbo, Osun State.
Also, candidates at the Risewise CBT centre in Kuchikau, Nasarawa State, lamented poor internet facilities.
A candidate, Mr. Dauda Geoffrey at the CBT centre, Kuchikau, told NAN that he experienced some challenges ranging from bad network to system tripping off as a result of power failure.
He said the operators in the centre were, however, able to manage the problems, adding that the experience could impair candidates’ concentration while the examination lasted.
“Generally, the exam was good; but some of us experienced some hitches while writing the exam because some of the computer systems were malfunctioning.
“They were logging (us) in and out and we also experienced a situation where some of the systems went off outright.
“But the officials were able to manage the situation because, for those of us with the challenge, we had to wait for some candidates to finish, then we moved to their system to write our exams,” Geoffrey said.
He, however, said he preferred the old method of paper and pencil in writing the exam, describing it “as stress-free.”
Another candidate, Miss Faith Attah, said the only problem she faced in the centre was that of network failure, adding that JAMB authority should look for ways of solving the problems for the next batch of candidates.
She said this would help erase the doubts about the possibility of a hitch-free exam.
Another candidate, Mr. Dare Monday appealed to JAMB to put in place effective and efficient structure in the conduct of the exam.
Some of the candidates also decried the unfriendly attitude of some JAMB staff, who they accused of showing less concerns for candidates who needed immediate attention or those faced with some immediate challenges.
Earlier, Mr. Ayodele Ojo, JAMB supervisor at the centre, said the problems were minor; but he promised to proffer immediate solutions before subsequent batches.
Ojo also said the exam was smooth; adding that all the candidates were familiar with the computer as there was no problem of having to put them through the system.
He said that over 98 per cent of the first batch reported and wrote the exam.
He said the remaining candidates who failed to appear would be made to face the consequence, as no other exam would be conducted for them.
“The exam is going on, we have checked in the candidates and, like every human scheme, we are still expecting a few candidates,” he said.
In Abakaliki, Mrs. Rose Eze, JAMB official from Abuja and supervisor at Mastersoft Technology Ltd., a UTME-approved centre, told NAN that the innovation of the board was more preferable, compared to the past system.
Eze said the board’s instruction, registration, procedures and portal gave credit to the new development.
She expressed satisfaction over candidates’ conduct at the Abakaliki centre and stated that there were no challenges of bad network or computers breakdown.
She said the students were advised earlier to be conscious of time to end their examination properly before time.
“Generally, the exam was well conducted and no challenges experienced in this centre.
“JAMB new innovation is more preferable to other method of examination and we advised them to be time-conscious to conclude their exams before time,” she said.
Miss Ogomu Okereke and Ndidiamaka Ukpia, JAMB candidates at the centre, in their separate interviews acknowledged the innovation and advised the board to sustain it.
NAN reports that Prof. Mojeed Alabi, the 2017 UTME General Monitoring Officer for Osun, Oyo and Ogun states, had told NAN about the level of preparedness at ICT centres in Osogbo for the UTME.