• No basis for postponement, says JAMB
Candidates for the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) yesterday protested against the March date fixed by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB.The aggrieved candidates who paralysed human and vehicular movements along Bariga-Akoka road, demanding a postponement of the examination on the ground that the timing is too short.
The candidates carried placards with various inscriptions such as; “Admission is yet to close, why conducting another UTME now?”; “JAMB isn’t for revenue generation, stop milking our parents,” “2017 UTME was held in May, why March in 2018?” “2018 admissions not transparent,” among others.
They lamented that many of them who had hoped to be admitted into tertiary institutions during the 2017/2018 academic calendar year just found out this week that they were not admitted, saying the few weeks left for the conduct of the UTME cannot be enough to prepare for another examination.
But JAMB, in a swift reaction said there’s no going back on its the decision to hold the examination between March 9and 17, noting that it was a decision jointly taken by other examination bodies to avoid clash of timetables and to ensure that all admissions are concluded by August every year for a smooth academic system.
The examination body, however, advised the 245,000 candidates billed to take part in its Monday Mock examination to visit the website to reprint their slips and prepare adequately for the examination.
Addressing reporters during the protest, the National President of the Association of Tutorial School Operators (ATSO), Mr. Dotun Sodunke, who led the protesters said if the examination is allowed to hold as scheduled Nigeria would experience another round of mass failure. He said if JAMB was not only concerned about generating revenue for the government it would consider the candidates in fixing the date for the examination, saying it is obvious that there was no way the candidates would complete the UTME syllabus under one month.
Sodunke added that institutions like the University of Benin, Yaba College of Technology, among others, still released admission list on Wednesday, and that the students who had applied to such institutions but are yet to be admitted would not concentrate on preparation for another examination.He said; “The new head of JAMB needs to be called to order. He should not be carried away by the euphoria of revenue generation.
The future of this country depends on these children. JAMB is sure that if you conduct the exam early, many candidates would fail, and they would come back to register again next year. This is so because their children don’t school here.
“Admissions are yet to be concluded, yet you are fixing date for another one. Who does that? The introduction of the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS) is also a fraud. You would be admitted on JAMB portal and on CAPS page it would deny you admission.
However, the Head of the Press and Public Relations Unit of JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, explained that there was yet no basis for the postponement being sought by the candidates, saying the date had been fixed as early as December, 2017, and that it was made public.
Benjamin said; “JAMB is not alone in this business. All stakeholders in Nigeria’s education sector have realised that our calendar must be organised and firm as we experience abroad, and it must start somewhere. Even if heaven will fall, the new government wants to ensure that academic calendar starts every August, and that is why all admissions will be concluded by August this year. So if these candidates are affected, we apologise to them.