The much-awaited 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) will come to an end today. For many candidates, however, the exercise didn’t go as expected.
From technical glitches to hours-long delays, the exam left many candidates and their parents frustrated.
“One assurance we want to give Nigerians is that every candidate that has registered for this examination will certainly be given the opportunity to take the examination,” Fabian Benjamin, JAMB spokesperson, had said.
“On the first day, there were candidates who were unable to sit for the exam because of technical issues and we have rescheduled those candidates.”
CANDIDATES RECOUNT CHALLENGES
Several candidates who spoke with TheCable Lifestyle lamented difficulties taking the exam.
Adura, one of the candidates, was originally scheduled to take the exam at Valiant Havilah Centre in Ejioku, Ibadan, Oyo state.
But she was suddenly rescheduled to another location due to a “technical glitch”.
“Valiant Havilah at Ejioku in Ibadan was supposed to be my original centre and the set time was 6:30 am. But when we entered the CBT hall, it was a different story. We couldn’t log in to start the exam due to a technical glitch”, she said.
“We waited till 6:00 in the evening before we were told to go that we all would be rescheduled.”
Adura said not everyone who had the same challenge as hers got the opportunity to rewrite the UTME.
“We were rescheduled as promised but not all of us. I have a friend that has not been rescheduled. I was rescheduled for another one at I-flier International School and it was well done,” she added.
Timothy, another candidate who wrote his exam at Astute College in Ifo, Ogun state, was not pleased with the way the UTME was conducted at his centre.
“My exam time was scheduled for 06:30 am. But after we were seated the system started having technical issues. The invigilators said it was due to the power supply. Before they could fix everything, they said that our time had passed and they had to postpone our exam,” he said.
“Thankfully they called the head office in Abuja and they instructed us to write the exam at another time.
“But again, at about 3 pm that we were rescheduled to, we started having network issues due to the bad weather. We waited and after everything, we did our biometric thumb printing again and wrote the exam.”
On his part, Waliyullahi Olamide, who sat for the exercise at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Distance Learning Centre at Ile Ife, said his exam was scheduled for “9:00 am but suddenly we did it by noon.”
“Most of the people we were together in the same hall could not write due to system error,” Olamide said.
Some candidates, however, told TheCable Lifestyle that they had no issues while writing the exam.
Lateefat, who wrote her examination at the West African Examination Council (WAEC) CBT centre in the Ogba area of Lagos said, she did not experience any form of disruption during the exercise.
“I didn’t experience any issues. But there was one guy that it was when the exam started that he realised that that was not his centre. The supervisors called people at his original centre to inform them about the error,” she said.
LIKE MOCK, LIKE UTME
The harrowing experiences of many candidates during the exercise were not different from that of the mock UTME held on March 30.
The exercise was introduced to test JAMB’s preparedness for the main UTME and allow prospective candidates to have hands-on experience.
During the exam, candidates lamented the delay in commencement while some candidates complained about system failure and sudden changes in centres.
TheCable Lifestyle had reported how JAMB also rescheduled the mock UTME for 84,000 candidates who had difficulties taking the preparatory exam.
Many candidates argued that the conduct of the UTME showed JAMB did not put in place adequate measures to correct the challenges experienced during the mock exercise.
Prior to the exam, JAMB had assured the public of its readiness to ensure a hitch-free exercise.
But the conduct of the exercise, which commenced on April 25, did not live up to expectations.
Amid backlash over the exam, the board apologised for the challenges experienced by candidates.
Speaking with TheCable, the JAMB spokesperson said despite the challenges, the 2023 UTME was successful as the board was able to contain exam malpractice.
“As far as we are concerned, we were able to address the issues with the public examination in Nigeria, which is examination malpractice,” Benjamin said.
“Yes, we have glitches here and there but these will be corrected in the cause of the building process.”
Benjamin also assured that the affected candidates will write the rescheduled exam on Saturday.
“For everybody that has written and made themselves available at the centre they were supposed to write will certainly write. They have all been rescheduled to write on Saturday,” he added.
“Let them go and reprint their slips. The easiest way to know is also to try and check your result. Once you check your result, it will tell you the category that you belong to.
“The category will tell you whether you were absent or rescheduled. It will also tell whether you have a result or not.”
‘THIS IS THE BEST EXAM IN RECENT YEARS’
Benjamin had earlier claimed this year’s exam was the best in recent years despite the criticisms.
He also explained that the challenges encountered were on account of some novel features deployed by the board to safeguard the sanctity of the examination.
“This is the best exam we have had over a period of time. But I know many will like to contest that because of what happened,” he had said.
“If you have been in the system and been following our exams, you will know that the first day is always turbulent.”
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