383 blind candidates sat for 2022 UTME – JAMB 

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB) has said that over
383 visually impaired candidates sat for the Unified Tertiary
Matriculation Examination (UTME), even as it reassured stakeholders
of its determination to give equal opportunities to all candidates in
the just-concluded 2022 UTME.

A statement from JAMB’s Head of Public Affairs and Protocol, Dr Fabian
Benjam, to Blueprint, Sunday, said the blind candidates sat for the 2022 UTME in 11 selected centres nationwide.

The blind candidates, just like their counterparts that are not visually challenged, were assessed in all subjects including the Use of English and Mathematics with each candidate sitting the four subjects relevant to his/her proposed course of study.

“The candidates were also given the option of taking their
examination via braille, computer or typewriter,whichever is
convenient for them,” the state reads in part.

JAMB, in its drive for equality and inclusivity of its candidates with
varying disabilities, had set up a committee comprising a select group
of senior academics and special education experts known as JAMB Equal
Opportunity Group(JEOG) led by former Executive Secretary, National
Universities Commission (NUC) and now chairman of the governing board
of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof. Peter Okebukola,
as chairman.

It was this group that was tasked with the responsibility of
conducting all examinations for those candidates with special needs.

In the JEOG report on the conduct of the 2022 UTME for candidates with
special needs, Prof. Okebukola disclosed that this year’s figure was
higher than those of the two previous years which were 351 for 2020
and 332 for 2021, out of which 89 ( r e p r e s e n t i n g 2 5 % ) and 110 (representing 33%) respectively of this class of candidates gained admission into various tertiary institutions to study programmes of their choice including L a w, M a s s C o m m u n i c a t i o n, Mathematics, Engineering, among others.

The highly-revered academic also averred that the group had, in the
last five years since it was constituted, processed over 2,200
candidates for the UTME with more than one-third of them admitted to p r o g r a m m e s o f t h e i r ch o i c e i n universities and other higher institutions across the country. 

He noted that the goal of the special consideration for thesecategory of candidates was to ensure that no Nigerian who is qualified is denied the opportunity to sit the UTME irrespective of disability, noting that the upsurge witnessed in this year’s UTME might no  be unconnected to the increasing confidence of these set of candidates in the activities of the group.

He added that the group is also seeing increased participation of
candidates with Down Syndrome and Autism, among others.

He said Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, on its own, had admitted up to 23 blind UTME candidates in 2021 while the University of Ilorin and the Federal College of Education (Special) Oyo, as well as University of Lagos, admitted 11, 21 and 3 visually impaired candidates respectively.

The distinguished don, in his assessment, said although those enrolment figures might look small, the i m p a c t o n k n ow l e d ge a n d s k i l l s acquisition, particularly as concerned students with special needs, was certainly huge for Nigeria and its economy.

Meanwhile, some of these candidates with special needs, in their
interaction with JAMBulletin, were effusive in their commendation for
JAMB not only on account of the organisation of the examination but
also in terms of the welfare and logistics provided to facilitate their examination such as picking their transportation, feeding and accommodation bills and that of their minders to and from the various examination venues as well as the bills of those who could not return to theirhomes on the day of examination.