SOMETIME last year, Miss Bisi Kolawole, a candidate who sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) on May 31, 2014, decried her experience in writing the Paper Pencil Test.
She once moaned: “I wrote the UTME since May 31 but up till now, I have not received my result.
“I appealed to JAMB (Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board) to address the problem relating to the release of my exam result but it has yet to tackle the problem.’’
Another candidate, Salihu Akamsoko, noted that “when the UTME results finally came out, they were not released early enough to enable some candidates to secure university admissions.
“Such problems are often common with those who wrote UTME using the Paper Pencil Test (PPT) mode.
“However, I thank God that this time around, I wrote the exam via the Computer Based Test (CBT) mode, I have checked my JAMB result and I am glad I scored 228 points.”
These comments, derived from Tweeter, a social media network, tend to reflect some of the challenges facing candidates who sit for UTME examinations, particularly those using the PPT mode.
It is, therefore, little wonder then that observers applaud JAMB for its decision to switch from Paper Pencil Test (PPT) to Computer Based Test (CBT) in conducting its examinations, as part efforts to address perceptible drawbacks.
“The desire to go full-blown CBT in administering public examinations in Nigeria has been the resolve of the Federal Government,” Mr Nyesome Wike, former Minister of Education, said.
Wike said this at the inauguration of a CBT centre of JAMB, which has the capacity to accommodate 250 candidates per session, in Kogo community, Bwari Area Council of the FCT.
He called for the adoption of strategic measures in the administration of public examinations, so as to ensure hitch-free and flawless entry processes into higher institutions, among others.
“With the expansion of access through the establishment of a federal university in each state of the federation and the licensing of more private universities, it is expected that many more candidates, who sit for JAMB examination every year, will gain admission into various tertiary institutions.
“It is hoped that the new vista and opportunity which the CBT has opened will be seized by entrepreneurs as a new area of investment.
“I urge other public examination bodies to embrace the CBT mode in order to synergise the administration of public examination in Nigeria,” he added.
Educationalists view the introduction of the CBT as a panacea to the myriad challenges facing Nigeria’s education sector, particularly those relating to the rising number of candidates who sit for UTME in order to gain admission into tertiary institutions.
They believe that the government has placed considerable emphasis on expanding the quality and accessibility of tertiary education in the country via enhanced credibility of public examinations.
They note that the adoption of CBT in conducting public examinations will go a long way in boosting the education sector, particularly in curbing result blackouts, delays in release of exam results and other factors that are impeding the growth of the sector.
Dr Jeremiah Osolua, an educational consultant, recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan, at a meeting with educational stakeholders in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, endorsed the adoption of CBT, as part of his administration’s efforts to revolutionise the education sector.
He said that the experience of JAMB as to CBT had been a source of pride to the nation, adding that tangible efforts should be made to fully integrate technology applications in the curriculum of Nigerian students to enable them to garner more know-how about digital operations.
However, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, the Registrar of JAMB, conceded that JAMB initially encountered some hiccups in efforts to adopt the CBT; its determination to surmount the challenges enabled it to convert the seeming challenges to veritable opportunities.
He said that the CBT was introduced by JAMB as a panacea to the perennial challenges associated with the PPT, adding that the new mode of examination had the potential of curbing virtually all the perceptible abnormalities.
“The CBT was introduced by JAMB in 2013 to bring sanity into the education sector and curb the hydra-dreaded problem of incomplete results, while solving the lingering challenges of missing scripts, incomplete results and other similar complaints often expressed by candidates in the past.
“The paperless test, which facilitates prompt release of raw scores and greater standardisation of test administration, is reliable, flexible and simple to administer. It also eliminates high cost of logistics and hectic planning for the examination,” he said.
Ojerinde said that 1,606,753 candidates applied for the 2014 UTME, adding that out of the figure, 990,179 candidates applied for the PPT, 25, 325 candidates applied for the Dual Based Test, while 616, 574 candidates applied for the CBT.
Also speaking, Mr Peter Eze, the Chairman of JAMB’s Governing Board, said that the JAMB’s determination to fully adopt the CBT in 2015 was not negotiable.
He pledged the agency’s determination to introduce innovations aimed at ensuring the proper implementation of the education policy, in order to better the lot of UTME candidates.
His words: “Our determination to embrace this all-encompassing mode of examination is to place Nigeria’s education system at par with global best practices.
“CBT has the solution to all the challenges facing public examination.”
Eze recalled that JAMB used 55 centres to conduct the CBT in 2013, while it used 133 centres for DBT and 153 for CBT in 2014.
All in all, analysts observe that JAMB is making a steady progress in using CBT in enhancing the quality of its UTME and by extension, the nation’s education system.

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