The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has announced that it will employ full-blown computer based test for candidates seeking admissions into Nigerian tertiary institutions during the 2015 Unified Tertiary Examination.
The Chief Executive and Registrar of JAMB, Professor Dibu Ojerinde, announced the transformation from the paper and pencil test to a full blown computer based test during a press conference in Abuja.
According to him, the new innovation would help to reduce examination malpractice and introduce more confidence in the system.
Over 1,475,000 candidates, including the visually impaired are expected to participate this years examination.
The National Examinations council (NECO) has recorded a remarkable improvement in its just released 2013 June-July senior school certificate Examinations.
Over 60 percent of the over a million candidates who sat for the examinations scored credit pass and above in the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology compared to fifteen percent in 2011 and 49 percent in 2012.
The new results also showed that only 10 percent of the candidates who sat for the Examination scored credit pass and above in both Christian religious studies and Islamic religious studies.
The Registrar of the council, Professor Promise Okpala while releasing the results at the council headquarters noted that there has been a reduction in malpractices as only one percent of the candidates were involved in any form of malpractices in the Examinations compared to 35 percent last year.
The Registrar of the National Examinations Council (NECO), Promise Okplala on Tuesday said the Council has introduced the use of customised answer scripts for its examination. Mr Okpala told reporters in Abuja that the customised answer scripts would tackle the challenge of hoarding of remnants of answer scripts by invigilators.
He said such “left over scripts’’ are then sold by the supervisors to fraudsters who engaged in various forms of examination malpractice.
“The Nigeria of those days is not possible in 2012. They have so many ways of cheating and we, on our part are always coming out with ways to counter them.
“These customised scripts appear alike, but every paper has a unique secret code. So if you use the answer script for English Language, for instance, to answer Biology, we will fish you out,” he said.
He added that the secret code was only known to three people and would only be revealed to the invigilator an hour before the examination.
“So we want to let the public know, especially those that are engaged in examination malpractice, do not bother to write outside the hall because your script will be fished out.”
He said part of the measures put in place to secure examination papers were cancellation of “sleeping places’’ , where papers are kept in overnight custody at police stations, banks and even palaces of chiefs in the community.
He said that papers were now kept in a single location, and that is NECO’s state offices, where security had also been tightened.
Mr Okpala said the papers were then transported as early as 5 a.m. on the day of the examination to the examination centres by the many vehicles that were stationed there.
“That is why we have shifted our examination time to 10 a.m. because by then we estimate that the papers would have reached all the centres within the state.
“That has led to an increase in the cost of our logistics, because during full operations, we use as many as 400 vehicles and drivers would be paid allowances,” he said.
He said the foregoing, as well as printing examination questions in batches, had also helped to minimise leakage.
“Most importantly, we do not joke with our staff welfare to prevent inducement by dubious people who offer them `kola’.”
The Registrar said the reason why students engage in examination malpractices is because they are “are not well prepared and so do not have confidence in themselves.”
“Let us go back to the roots and make sure we prepare candidates who will be eager to go into examination halls, because nobody seeks for support in a game one can win clean,’’ he advised.
The Registrar and Chief Executive of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, (JAMB), Dibu Ojerinde, on Wednesday, requested for assistance from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in fighting malpractices plaguing the conduct of public examination in Nigeria.
The Registrar made this request in Abuja during a visit to the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde in his office.
Mr Ojerinde said that the most challenging issue confronting JAMB was the issue of examination malpractices.
He said that though the mandate of JAMB was to conduct credible and valid examinations free of malpractices, the rising spate of sharp practices among students sitting for its examinations has become a cause for concern.
The JAMB boss disclosed that, in the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, two individuals who designed bathroom sleepers that accommodated handsets to receive answers from outside were arrested. The sleepers, he said, were designed specially to cheat during the examinations.
“There is this particular case of a woman in Ikirun, Osun State . During the examination, a search was conducted on her and the scanner gave indication that there were foreign metal object in her body. All entreaties to her to bring out what was on her failed until a woman supervisor had to take her to a closet and undress her only to discover that a handset was prepared just like a pad in her private part. It was that bad. If we had not used the scanner, we couldn’t have detected it. Even at that, I am sure there were people that still went away with it,” Mr Ojerinde said.
In justifying the collaboration and assistance he sought from EFCC, the Registrar said that, “We realized that we in JAMB don’t have this special Eagle Eye to detect some of these things. We have come to solicit for your assistance on how we can work together to exterminate this problem.”
Mr Ojerinde also spoke of plan to introduce e-testing to replace the manual examination conducted by the Board. The idea, he said, will be introduced gradually as candidates will be allowed the option of paper/pencil examinations or e-testing.
“In that way, children will write their examination electronically and at the end, the candidate will submit and the scores will appear immediately and the candidate will go home with his/her scores; but the national standardization will still take place”, he proposed.
EFCC promises to help
The EFCC Chairman assured JAMB Board of EFCC’s collaboration. He said the Commission will always be available to handle any issue referred to it, promising that, “we would always intervene not only during examinations, we would also like to beam searchlight on personnel of JAMB to know how the questions get to the candidates”, he said.
Mr Lamorde also suggested that efforts should be made to de-emphasize paper qualification in Nigeria. “Even in the western world, there are people who have done wonderfully well without having a University or a Polytechnic degree. These people have contributed meaningfully to the society,” he said.