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Candidates, Parents Protest, Demand Cancellation of 2016 UTME

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Hundreds of admission seekers to the nation’s tertiary institutions and their parents on Tuesday stormed the Lagos State Governor’s Office in Alausa, Ikeja, and the state Assembly complex to protest against alleged manipulation of the 2016 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.

The protesters demanded the cancellation of the exams and the removal of the Registrar of the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde.

The protesters, who faulted the conduct of the examination, described the exercise as a “big sham.”

The examination, conducted by JAMB, they alleged, was fraught with irregularities.

The examination, which started on February 27, will end on March 19.

While some of the candidates alleged that the board deliberately lowered their scores, some claimed that it arbitrarily awarded marks to many candidates.

The protesters, led by a group under the aegis of Concerned Parents and Education Stakeholders, displayed placards with inscriptions such as, ‘All we are saying give us our mark’, ‘Dibu must go; the only stumbling block in education progress’, ‘The Joint Admission and Manipulation Board, give us our real results’, and ‘The professor of test and management has outlived his usefulness’, among others.

The protesters, who occupied the gate of the Lagos State House of Assembly complex for many hours, said JAMB and its registrar had “lost focus on how to conduct a successful Computer-Based Test in the 21st century.

A candidate, Maryam Animashaun, who expressed disappointment with the conduct of the examination, claimed that she received three different results from JAMB.

Animashaun, who sat for the examination at the College of Education, Oro, Kwara State, said, “I am confused. I do not know what to do now. The first alert I received on the telephone from the board with regard to the examination showed that I scored 218. The second alert read 186, while the third one read 286.

“The surprising thing now is that I cannot print any of the results. On the website, the board claimed that I did not sit for the examination. Meanwhile, I sat for English, Government, Economics and Literature-in-English.”

Another candidate, Kalasuwe Adeola, who claimed she scored 220, said she obtained the same score in 2015.

She said, “I am sure JAMB did not mark this year’s UTME. If it did, why did they issue me the same result I obtained last year? In my printed result for this year, it was written 2015/2016 instead of 2016/2017. I sat for this year’s examination at the Bachel Model College, Lagos, on March 9. Unlike other candidates, I did not have any issue with my system during the examination.”

The National President of the Association of Tutorial Schools in Nigeria, Mr. Shodunke Olutodotun, lamented that over 10,000 candidates missed the UTME, while others had their marks deducted due to irregularities by JAMB.

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“This year’s UTME will soon be concluded. We have a man called Prof. Dibu Ojerinde. This man has outlived his usefulness in JAMB. He seems to be more powerful than the country’s president.

“The protesters are the victims; their destinies are being finished by Dibu. Most of the protesters that had their exam in Delta State had the exam in a shrine. A lot of them got results before they sat for the exam.

“We are appealing to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, to send signal to Abuja to stop UTME. If they don’t do that, we will go to Abuja.

“How will someone sit for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and the next thing he sees are Economics, Commerce and Government?”

Describing the exam as a fraud, a parent, Mr. Bunmi Elujula, urged the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to look into the complaints of the candidates urgently.

Apart from awarding arbitrary scores to candidates, Elujula said many candidates had problems with their systems.

He said, “Many candidates were allocated between 40 and 60 additional marks. What are the criteria for this arbitrariness? The strange thing is that JAMB started the CBT two years ago, why is this year’s exam a big flop? I have not seen candidates and parents complain this way about the exam in the past. I plead with the authorities to look into their grievances.”

But JAMB described the organisers of the protest as “blackmailers”.

In a statement by its Head of Public Relations, Dr Fabian Benajmin, the board said some proprietors, whose examination centres did not receive accreditation for the test, were behind the protest.

The statement read in part, “The board had approved centres provided by these individuals to be used for the 2016 exercise. Unfortunately, it could not approve those centres lacking in all the indices needed for a successful CBT.

“These same proprietors turned around to organise candidates to protest against our activities. We are not perfect as an organisation, but we are 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.

“We will continue to call on Nigerians to give us the benefits of doubt and with their collective support; we will give them one of the best CBT globally. 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 JAMB officials, bolting with question papers into the bush and all unthinkable embarrassing acts are gone.”

Punch


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