Many admission seekers into tertiary schools, who want to sit for this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) being conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), are finding it difficult to register for the examination.
The registration is ongoing since Saturday, February 19 and is expected to last till March 26 as scheduled by JAMB.
But many applicants expressed great displeasure over the exercise, saying the process is full of hitches and very frustrating.
They said if the situation is not addressed fast, many prospective candidates would certainly be denied the opportunity to sit the exam this year, except JAMB extends the deadline.
Some of the students and their parents, who spoke to Sunday Tribune in Lagos, identified some of the problems trailing the exercise to include profile code generation through the candidate’s National Identity Number (NIN), poor internet network, and disorderliness at the CBT registration centres, among others.
Some of them said they had been trying to generate profile code for up to three days or more to no avail and that in spite of that, they still lost some amount of money as service charge to their phone operators which deduct N50 (instead of the normal N4 charge) on each SMS text.
UTME is a conditional assessment test to gain admission into tertiary institutions from colleges of education to universities in Nigeria. And JAMB makes profile code a first step and mandatory for every prospective candidate to be able to progress with the registration by logging into the JAMB portal to fill the application forms, make payment and then do the biometric capturing.
And because of the inability to generate the code after many attempts via the Short Text Message (SMS) and using different active phone numbers, some go for the alternative, which is to send an email with the candidate’s NIN and Name to an address given as email@example.com.
“This other method is also a tug of war before we could sail through on the third day we have been trying,” Mr Remi Adelowo, one of the troubled parents and father of three, told Sunday Tribune.
According to him, at some initial attempts, I used to get automated responses to the email, asking for a retrial after four hours if the code is not sent and we did that for two days but on the second day there was no response again and yet we kept trying for another day.
“But at last, we went back to the first option, now by using my wife’s phone number maybe we could be lucky and that was how we were able to generate the code and then proceeded to a CBT centre around Iyana-Ipaja axis.
Mr Adelowo, a civil servant said at the CBT centre and with e-Pin, they went through another terrible experience as there was total disorderliness of operations including non-adherence to COVID -19 principle at the place.
According to him, even though candidates are given numbers on arrival so as to be attended to in turns in that order, in reality, the CBT workers are not following the rules.
He said they were giving priority to those who come in groups through the back doors over those on the ‘official queues’ and who have arrived at the venue much earlier.
“They would call about five people on a queue at once into the hall while those who are just coming in group and some in school uniforms and with their teacher would go directly into the hall and would be attended to first before the former group.
“Just Friday last week, I was there around 8.00 am with my daughter and they didn’t attend to her until around 2.00 pm and yet, to do the biometric capturing turned out to be another big issue.
“They told her there was no internet network and that she should step aside pending when the network would return and because of that, we waited for another three hours still without network, we then left with the hope of coming back the next day.
“The next day which was Saturday, we were there as early as 7.30 am and my daughter was the second person to be around. We were happy thinking they would be attended to as they arrived but it wasn’t so.
“The CBT people tried to play prank again by first attending to some groups of students claiming they were around the previous day but not attended to.
“I have to protest the practice openly before they reluctantly attended to my daughter around 11.00 am.
“I am quite sure if I didn’t do that or follow her to the centre, she wouldn’t have been through even till now with her registration.
“The process is too traumatic,” Mr Adelowo lamented
However, Adelowo, just like many others, blames the poor registration process first on NIMC for its poor internet connectivity to the JAMB server and on CBT centres that are not orderly in their operations and then on JAMB for not doing effective monitoring of the exercise at the CBT centres.
He said JAMB would need to do the bulk of the work by putting NIMC and the CBT centres on their toes to improve on their services as applicable.
He said JAMB should not pretend not to know that the students who are doing registration and their parents are supposed to be in school studying for the exam and their school certificate exams and at work respectively rather than wasting their valuable time on registration.
But reacting to the complaints, Registrar of JAMB, Prof Is-haq Oloyede said the applicants are to be fully blamed for all the problems being encountered in the course of the registration and therefore their problems are self-inflicted.
He identified lack of obeying simple instructions and guidelines such as carefree and wrong imputation of NIN by applicants, poor coordination with their family members and failure to follow other stipulated rules as the sole factors inhibiting the smooth registration.
He said JAMB as a body had come up with a system designed to be hitched-free but for only applicants who follow the laid down guidelines.
He said as far as JAMB is concerned, the registration is on the course including the hope of meeting the target of about 1.5 million applicants by the deadline.
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