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DATA CAPTURING SLOWS DOWN UTME

By NBF News
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The innovation introduced by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board [JAMB] for the thumb print of prospective candidates before taking yesterday's Unified Teertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) resulted in late commencement of the examination in most centres monitored in Jos, Plateau State capital.

Sunday Sun observed that the process was rather too slow, as each candidate had to undergo screening at two separate points to ascertain his/her candidature before being allowed to participate in the exam.

About 540 candidates were allocated to each of the centres, which included the two at Federal Government College, Jos, Command Secondary School and Zang Commercial College, Bukuru, and most candidates arrived as early as 7 a.m. for the exam, which did not commence until about 10 a.m.

One of the supervisors at Federal Government College, Jos, Mr. Moven Vincent, said when JAMB realized the exam was slow in taking off, some of us received text messages that the slip 'E' should be used to admit candidates into the hall and thereafter data-capturing machine was used to take the thumb print as the exam was in progress.

Another problem was the sex of the students that was mixed up, but the examiners said appropriate measures would be taken to ensure the problem is rectified before names were sent to the universities of their choice.

In some centres, the machines did not pick up on time and the examiners had to rely on those available in the schools where the examination were to hold, which were used for the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

When contacted for comment on the lateness in commencing the exam at some centres, the supervisors declined to speak with our reporter, insisting that JAMB authorities instructed them not to talk to the press. A female candidate, who pleaded anonymity, said the process was rigorous, calling on JAMB authorities to extend the time for the exam due to the new process of identifying prospective candidates.

As at the time of filing the report, no arrest had been recorded in any of the centres as supervisors affirmed that the students had cooperated fully.

In Makurdi, Benue State capital, hitches associated with accreditation process were also recorded.

In most centers, examination did not commence until after 9 a.m. because the computer could not supply the information of most candidates in addition to the fact that it was very slow. Some centres visited include Padopas Secondary School, Staff Development Centre, Government College, Mount St. Gabriel and Anglican Secondary School.

Centre Coordinator at Government College, Mr. Moses Iordaah, who spoke with Sunday Sun, decried the slow pace of the computer in accrediting candidates.

He noted that the centre commenced screening of candidates at 7 a.m. but as at 9 a.m. less than 200 of the 540 candidates were successfully accredited.

Iordaah stated that the centre acted on instruction from the state office to allow all the 540 candidates to sit for the examination, while an attendance sheet was passed round as alternative measure.

While insisting that only one computer was not enough to screen 540 candidates per centre, Iordaah suggested that at least two computers should be used in each centre in future to forestall lapses recorded this year.

Some candidates spoke with Sunday Sun. Hembadoon Sunday and Terso Iorhember lamented the ordeal of screened before being allowed to sit for the examination.

'I thought I had lost the chance to sit for the examination again this year after trying thrice in the past without success. The computer could not give my correct data, so I was asked to step aside until all those affected were later allowed to take the examination,' Terso said.

In Kogi State, the thumb printing system introduced to curb impersonation and exam malpractice was successful at the JAMB exam centres.

Sunday Sun while monitoring the compliance by candidates for the exams yesterday observed that many 'smart guys' who went for the exam to impersonate other candidates were disappointed as their thumb prints were rejected by the computers, thus they were not allowed into the exam halls.

For example, when our correspondent visited Kabba in where JAMB had five exam centres, only candidates with proof of registration were allowed to write the exam.

At St. Augustine's College, Kabba, one of the centres, the gates leading to the school were strictly manned by officials of the NCDSC to enhance law and order.

An official said of the over 513 candidates for the exam at the centre, only six were disqualified as their photographs did not tally with those in the computer.

However, the six candidates were later allowed into the exam hall after satisfying examiners with evidence of their registration and receipts for the purchased forms.

Reports from Okene, Lokoja, Idah Dekina and other parts of the state indicated that the new screening process was successful in the state.

In Nasarawa State, candidates were at the examination centres as early as 6 a.m., but were not attended to until about 7 a.m. while in some centres the examination commenced at 12 noon after invigilators and security agents completed the screening of candidates.

At Baptist High School, Tudun Kauri, Lafia, Government Science School, Lafia, College of Agriculture, Lafia, and Islam College, Lafia,