‘Why JAMB banned cash transactions at CBT centres’

As part of measures to protect the integrity of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME), the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has taken steps to close identified loopholes that might be exploited by examination cheats, AMEH JOHN reports.

Dealing with cheats

Last Saturday was quite emotional for the registrar of JAMB, Professor Is-haq Oloyede, because of the various tactics that were deployed by desperate examination cheats during the conduct of the recent UTME across the country.

Professor Oloyede said his frustration stemmed from the fact that despite the painstaking efforts of the examination body to have a hitch-free exercise, those whom he described as “fraudsters and forgers”, were determined to compromise the integrity of the UTME process.

While briefing journalists on the outcome of the recent examination, Oloyede explained some of the immediate steps that his board had taken to curb the menace of examination malpractice in the system, which included the immediate ban on all financial transactions at all Computer Based Test (CBT) centres, noting that such a move would guard against the extortion of UTME candidates by CBT centre owners, where most of the malpractices are perpetrated.

“Despite the high possibility of blackmailers who may want to misconstrue the idea and misrepresent the board to the federal government, there is  the need to ban cash transactions at CBT centres to eliminate illicit transaction and extortions.

“Starting from next year, UTME candidates will make all payments associated with registration, purchase of e-pins, reading text and conduct of mock examinations at one point from which the reading text, normal CBT registration, service charges and mock (optional) shall be remitted to the respective states through the committee of CEE, Technical Advisor, JAMB state Coordinator and a representative of the CBT centre owners in the states shall superintend over the weekly disbursement on the basis of number of registration.

“It should be noted that the present total expense per candidate is  N3,500 (previously 5000) for application document;700 to CBT centres as registration service charge, 500 for the compulsory reading text and 700 for the mock  totaling   N5,400 and N4,700 for DE and candidates not taking mock.

In the next exercise the candidate desiring to write mock would pay N3500 for application document plus  N500 reading text plus N700 centre registration service charge  plus N350 for  mock which has been slashed down by the board to complement the efforts of the federal government on its reduction of the cost of the application document.

“Any centre found to be extorting money from candidates under any guise shall then be severely sanctioned,” Oloyede said.

No celebration for UTME results

It may not yet be celebration galore for fraudulent candidates whose results have been released by JAMB as the board is set to embark on post-examination evaluation of shady practices.

“Candidates who are at present enjoying undue favour  for the benefit of the doubt, will soon be exposed and more results  can then be cancelled for  post-examination fraud attempt.”

Other salient issues

The board further disclosed other measures that were being taken to ensure a successful UTME in the coming year.

Oloyede said, “Accreditation ends on December 30 of the preceding year of UTME. This shall be the deadline for centre accreditation. All existing centres must go for revalidation one month after the examination. Any centre that is not confirmed as suitable one month after the examination shall have its access code withdrawn.

“Examination towns shall be expanded in order to guard against collusion. No CBT centre shall be approved in a secondary school except it belongs to the institution and the administrator is the principal. After registration, candidates must ensure that they retrieve their registration template from the CBT centre.”

He hinged the delay in releasing the 2019 UTME results on JAMB’s resolve to “doing things right” in order to deal with some of the daring and brazen cases of examination malpractice that took place across the federation.

“It was a painstaking exercise that was instructive and eye-opening in many ramifications despite the general success story recorded. Given the promptness with which the 2017 and 2018 results were released, many candidates were agitated about the delay though we had assured them that as the Yoruba say, a female is not named Kumolu for no reason.

“Having explained the reasons behind the deliberate delay as part of doing the right things and doing things right, it is hoped that every Nigerian will change accordingly in line with the current government mantra by also doing the right things and doing things right at all times. 

“At the level of JAMB, our resolve is to ensure that the admission process, right from the UTME registration is open, free, transparent and malpractice-free,” he said.

Oloyede described examination malpractice as a “cankerworm” that must be eliminated because of its corrosive effect on societal growth and development.

Stakeholders’ assistance

While commending the federal government and other stakeholders’ commitment in assisting the examination body in stamping out the menace, Oloyede urged Nigerians to rededicate themselves to the value of hardwork and integrity in all spheres of national life.

“Once again we want to thank the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, the chairman and members of the board, the security agencies, the management and staff of JAMB and indeed, all Nigerians who contributed one way or the other to the success of the 2019 UTME.

We can only hope that more commitment will be given by all stakeholders to ensure that the future exams will focus on doing things right and doing the right things,” the registrar said.

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