SOME candidates, who wrote the 2016 Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examination (UTME) Computer Based Test (CBT), took their grievances to the Lagos State House of Assembly in Alausa, Lagos yesterday.
But the candidates, numbering hundreds, along with their parents and tutorial centre operators, went violent.
They threw stones at the Assembly security gate and security men to ventilate their anger after waiting for hours without being attended to by the lawmakers.
Some of the candidates were arrested by members of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), who were mobilised to prevent them from entering the Assembly premises.
They faulted the “wrong scores” released by the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) for the examination.
They questioned the integrity of the results released by JAMB since some candidates had 40 marks added and others had marks deducted from their original scores.
The candidates chanted statements like “give us our real marks”; “This cannot be our real marks”; “Dibu must go”; “Our systems went off during exam and nothing was done about it.”
Addressing the protesting candidates, the Majority Leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade, said it was not the fault of the lawmakers that they did not attend to them promptly.
He explained that they were busy attending to other important matters.
Agunbiade told them that they were in the right place to lodge their complaint, adding that they should not have been violent.
He assured them that their case would be taken to the appropriate quarters.
However, JAMB claimed that the protest was fuelled by “education consultants, whose CBT centres were disqualified from running the UTME for not meeting quality standard.
Recounting their experiences yesterday, the candidates complained of system failure during the examination, text message scores that did not tally with online scores, among others.
They asked JAMB to allow them retake the examination.
Eniola Akinbiyi, who sat for the examination at Obafemi Awolowo University ICT Centre, Ile Ife, said her computer shut down twice during the examination.
She said: “My computer shut down twice during the examination. I informed the supervisors and they said I should not worry. But when I checked my result, I had 188. That cannot be my result because what I read came out in the examination. I was very sure of myself.”
Usman Sanusi, who had to travel from Lagos to his centre at Adedokun Hall, Ibadan, said he got four versions of results.
“They sent three different scores to my phone. They first sent 101, then 178 and 188. Which one am I supposed to believe? When I finally checked online, I saw 179 and I could not accept the score, because I am better than that. My mum did not believe when I told her my score. She has been very angry with me, saying I wasted her money. JAMB is making parents fight with their children. Things are not so bad for students to enter university in other countries. Why is it always Nigeria that has problems with everything?” he said.
Boluwatife Joseph took the examination at Igbajo Polytechnic in Osun State on March 7, and got results for subjects she did not take.
“When I was writing my exam, the system shut down twice. I saw that I still had one hour 30 minutes left. But I had not even written Maths at all when the system shut down. When the result came out, I saw that I had 37 in English, the Maths I did not even write, I had 47. How come? Then my overall score, when sent by text was 220. But when I went to print out yesterday, it became 168. What happened? It is unfair. This is my first time of writing JAMB and I don’t want to go to polytechnic,” she said.
This year was the third time Temitope Ayeni took the UTME, and it was not a pleasant experience at her centre, Bachel Model College, Ogba on March 7.
“When I was writing, my system went off and I still had about one hour. When I logged back in, it told me ‘submitted.’ When I got the result text message, it told me I scored 246. When I checked online on March 8, it told me ‘no result.’ This is not the first time I am writing JAMB. It is the third. Last year, they logged me out before I finished and I had 199. The year before, I had 258, but I did not gain admission because of UNILAG’s post-UTME,” she said.
Olalekan Ajetumobi was marked absent even though he got to his centre on time and took the examination.
President of the Association of Tutorial School Operators, Mr. Oludotun Shodunke, issued a three-day ultimatum to the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, to give the candidates their real grades.
He said: “We are protesting because of the terrible thing done by the JAMB registrar. He decided not to mark this year’s JAMB. He just gave out marks arbitrarily.”
Board: protest instigated by education consultants
THE Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) has urged the protesting candidates to direct their complaints to the board rather than being used by “education consultants” for selfish interest.
A statement issued by its Public Relations Officer, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, described the “education consultants” as business owners that applied to run the examination as Computer Based Centres but failed JAMB’s screening.
The statement reads: “JAMB has called for calm and advised candidates to always avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the Board through it public complaints unit to vent their grievances and not to allow anybody to use them for any selfish interest.
“The Board had approved centres provided by these individuals to be used for the 2016 exercise, but unfortunately couldn’t as the centres were found to be lacking in all the indices needed for a successful CBT examination. This was discussed with these proprietors and they showed understanding as they witnessed the difficulties the Board went through to run even a session in their centres.
“It is surprising that these same proprietors will turn around to organised candidates to protest over our activities.”
Obviously referring to the hitches experienced in some centres during the conduct of the 14-day examination, Benjamin asked for support for the CBT examination, which he said is better than the paper-pencil test.
“We are not perfect as an organisation but working hard to ensure that Nigerian education is better than it is. We have taken the risk to do the unthinkable so as to change the paradigm.
“It is no news that the worst CBT is far better than the best Paper and Pencil Test. At least, the era of candidates pouring acid on staff, bolting with question papers into the bush and all manners of unthinkable embarrassing acts are gone,” he said.