‘We have not got the basics of conducting computer based test right’



Following the protest, by some of the candidates who sat for the last Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Computer Based Test (CBT) examination in Lagos, DEBO OLADIMEJI spoke with some of the stakeholders on their feelings concerning the examination and the way forward.

Considering the shoddy conduct of the last Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Computer Based Test (CBT) examination for candidates who wrote the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), many Nigerians were worried that JAMB did not honour the calls for the cancelation of the examination that was adjudged to have been marred by hitches everywhere.

Chairman Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Lagos State, Comrade Segun Raheem, was of the opinion that JAMB was building a heavy mansion on nothing.

“And no structural Engineer would do that kind of construction. It is not proper for JAMB with all its shortcomings to go for CBT examinations.”

“They had to hire facilities. JAMB doesn’t even have the facilities for candidates who registered for the examination in Lagos State alone.”

“JAMB doesn’t have enough computers to cater for the number of students enrolling for the examination. JAMB for now should look elsewhere for an alternative to the computer-based examination.”

He recalled that the last JAMB CBT examination was marred by errors.
“Some candidates were given wrong centres. Many of the computers malfunctioned.”

Raheem said that our education must take into cognizance the culture of the people.

“If this computer-based system of testing is a foreign idea that is brought into our system, they should look into our culture.”

He said that JAMB should realise that in the developed countries they have more computers than the students.

He said that here we don’t have the facilities that will make it possible for a smooth CBT examinations yet.

“We are taking about electricity. So the Federal Government should make sure that the facilities that will make such an examination hitch-free are provided.”

“I quite like the CBT examination but we should not assume that we are there when we are not there. Those facilities are not there yet. That is the situation.”

Raheem asked that if JAMB was setting the CBT exams to make a uniform system of admission, why are universities again organising post-JAMB examinations to put students through unnecessary stress

He said parents should also make sure that the Federal Government, through JAMB, do the needful not to jeopardise the urges of their children to further their education.

“However, parents and students should be computer lettered. That is the in-thing now. They should also work in tandem with technological advancement that is happening world over. The reality is that an average student must be able to operate a computer.”

Proprietor, Lagooz Schools, Agege, Lagos Chief Yomi Otubela, who had earlier called for the cancellation of the JAMB CBT examination, regretted the shoddy conduct of the last examination.

“I am worried that after the implementation of the maiden CBT for its candidates, the country has not got the basics of conducting CBT examination right. This came in the wake of trauma the candidates for JAMB CBT examination went through in the course of taking the examination nationwide.”

“The abrupt change of examination venue without prior communication to students. This made a lot of students to start looking for their new centres on the date of the examination.”

He said that the sudden change in examination time was another issue that the students had to grapple with.
“This became worrisome because some of these students did not know where to stay in the interim before their examination starts and therefore were subjected to unusual stress of waiting for long before the commencement of their examination which could have effected their psychology and their performance.”

Most of the centres used for the examination had issues with either their generating sets or networking system or even both which made students to lose some valuable time or even finish late in the evening with the attendant risk of accidents, kidnapping etc for such students.

“The idea of posting students to far places or another state to write the examination should be discouraged in its entirety. Moreso, that the majority of the candidates for this examination are teenagers who may not have embarked on such journeys before coupled with security concerns attached to such journeys.”

Otubela said with hindsight that in some centres in Magboro, there was a total shutdown of both the generating and networking system and, as a result, the examination had to be rescheduled to another day.

He reasoned that considering these identified hitches, the results of the examination therefore will never reflect true performance of the candidates and this may have negative consequence on students’ confidence.

In view of this he said that subsequently JAMB CBT examination should be made optional to allow students decide whether they would want paper-based test or Computer Based Test.
“This would also ensure that the facilities available for CBT are not overstretched to avoid frequent breakdown. However, in the future, when facilities are improved for CBT, the examination can then be fully computer-based.”

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