JAMB 2017 AND THE RIGOROUS STRESS OF REGISTRATION
By 1974, there were seven federal universities in the country. Every one of these universities conducted its own examination and admitted students. This system was, however, fraught with some problems, probably the most prominent being the untidiness in the uncoordinated system of admissions into universities.
Established in 1978 and with an average of a million applicants each year, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (hereinafter referred to simply as JAMB) is a Nigerian entrance examination board which was set up to conduct examinations to usher in prospective undergraduates into higher institutions of learning.
The Board was established to test students’ knowledge in selected subjects in order to determine their proficiency and worthiness to proceed to a tertiary institution, the basic requirement being that candidates must have concluded such examination administered by the National Examination Council or the West African Examination Council.
Sad however is the fact that each year, one problem or the other surfaces and one almost expect the Board to postpone either the deadline for registration or the examination schedule itself. Something always goes wrong somewhere. I do not suppose anyone was shocked when the JAMB registrar, Professor Is-haq Oloyede announced that the deadline had been postponed, citing as an excuse, the inability of most applicants to register on time.
Following from the above, one important issue militating against the Board this time around stems from and revolves around the process of registration which is no doubt cumbersome and time-consuming. First, a candidate has to go to a cyber café and create a profile on the JAMB website, using an active personal email address. Second, the candidate has to go to a bank and pay for the online form after which a Personal Identification Number (PIN) is generated and issued to the candidate. Finally, the candidate is required to go to a Computer-Based Test (CBT) center for biometric capture. This is in contrast to what obtained last year when all an applicant had to do was buy a scratch card which was then used to access JAMB’s portal at designated centers.
This new system, according to JAMB was designed to check the activities of fraudsters, but while the innovation is commendable, the system has given birth to new problems and has attracted serious criticisms. Candidates now queue under the scorching sun for hours because of the gross inadequacies of CBT centers in most states, slow speed of internet services, low level of computer literacy among candidates and well, other reasons too numerous to mention.
It is worthy to mention that despite the constant variation in price and the humongous revenue accruing to the Board each year, JAMB registration officials still bring faulty equipment and consequently increase the stress and frustration of students who have to stand in line and watch helplessly as the officials try to fix one problem or the other. The fingerprint capturing machine is probably the most notorious of this equipment.
Several weeks after the JAMB registration portal was opened, only about 600,000 applicants out of about 1.5 million secondary school students have been able to register for the examination, a problem owing largely to such recurring challenges as fewer registration centers, laborious process in bank payment and internet failures. There have been reports of applicants slumping during stampedes while struggling to obtain registration forms.
Again, applicants have complained bitterly about paying for their E-pins for days and not receiving any notification. There have been instances where the said e-pin has even been sent to the wrong emails. Students have complained bitterly about having to queue for ridiculous hours to get their profiles created and this is only a part of the long, rigorous process.
Also, apparently, not enough banks are engaged in the registration process and those who are engaged have been accused of not deploying enough manpower for the exercise and of not following instructions as set out by the Commission. According to JAMB’s registrar, Professor Is-haq Oloyede; ‘the delay in assigning registration pins to candidates by banks was due to failure to follow instructions…banks were instructed to create profiles for the candidate, but rather than creating profiles, they are conniving with some centers and sending candidates to them’
In times past, registration was made easy because it involved a large number of small and medium scale cyber cafes who are not simply everywhere but have proved themselves capable of handling JAMB registration. The story has changed; JAMB has somehow succeeded in taking the business away from the small and medium scale cyber cafes and has given same to very big cyber cafes which are ridiculously few.