UTME: Go Back To Pencil/Paper Exam Method – Reps Tell JAMB


On Thursday, the House of Representatives strongly opposed JAMB’s CB Test, (Computer Based Test) which was recently adopted for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), and subsequently gave a mandate for the examination body to return to the previous ‘pencil and paper’ method used in conducting examinations for candidates seeking admission into tertiary institutions.

To this end, the House directed the House Committee on Education, to work together with the Ministry of Education, to ensure that the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), acts in accordance with the order and report back to the House in one week.

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The House issued the order as they observed that the alleged numerous technical weakness recorded in the 2016 computer-based UTME, had revealed the that JAMB lacked the capacity to handle the computer-based test. As an alternative, JAMB was ordered to “conduct both computer-based tests and pencil-paper examinations simultaneously for candidates to opt for anyone of their choice.”

The lawmakers arrived at the decision after Honourable Oghene Egoh, (PDP Lagos), moved a motion under matters of urgent public importance saying there was need for JAMB to go back to the paper examination until the board was fully prepared to conduct a hiccup-free Computer Based Test (CBT).

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As Mr. Oghene reported, more than a million candidates who wrote the computer-based UTME experienced various levels of technical problems, emphasizing that these technical hitches were threats to the candidates’ chances of gaining admission into higher institutions. According to the lawmaker;

“Already, serious admission problem is rocking the nation because JAMB receives huge allocation from the Federal Government yearly. Yet, they charge candidates all manner of fees and majority of the children do not gain admission either because of the technical hitches of JAMB’s CB Test or the post-UTME introduced by various tertiary institutions.

“There were instances of double-option answers, computers malfunctioning and sudden shut down of the systems, causing absurdity that places some candidates in disadvantaged position.”

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Speaking on the issue of “conflicting” scores of candidates who sat for the examination, he pointed out that apart from the conflicting scores consequent to the technical flaws, it was glaring that many candidates could not pass the examination for the simple reason that they were not computer-literate.

In support of the motion, Honourable Aishatu Dukku said that, JAMB’s CB Test should be made optional for students giving them a choice to either use computer-based or pen and paper. A member, Mohammed Zakari (APC, Kwara) added that students who live outside the country should be put into consideration as the computer based option would give them room to participate in the examination.

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You will remember that some enraged students who sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination gathered at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa-Ikeja, on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016, to protest alleged irregularities in the conduct of JAMB’s CB Test as well as in their examination results.