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July 24, 2024

2024 UTME kicks off nationwide with minimal glitches

After several months of preparations, the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board (JAMB) kicked off the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) on Friday, in over 700 centres across the country.

While there were some reported instances of internet glitches, the JAMB authorities have assured that no candidate will be marginalised on account of the minor challenges.

However, the Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Ishaq Oloyode, while fielding questions from newsmen after monitoring the examination in Kogo-Bwari, Abuja, criticised some corporate organisations and individuals who hastily award scholarships to supposed best-performing candidates or highest scorers, regretting that such practice was undermining the functions of the examination body.

Recall that controversies arose after the conduct of the 2023 examination, where Mmesoma claimed to be the top scorer which had earned her scholarship worth N3 million from Innocent Chukwuma, Chairman of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing.

But JAMB later came out to deny Mmesoma’s claim of being the highest in the 2023 UTME, saying that the student faked the result she was parading, before she admitted using her phone to manipulate the result.

Speaking on the issue, Oloyede said the exam body is not comfortable with the award of scholarships to UTME best-performing candidates on the basis of the exam alone, as that would not capture other criteria that are factored in for admission.

“Yes, MTN and other people are giving scholarships to the highest (scorers) but we have always discouraged them, because you scored high in UTME doesn’t mean you are the best because some other factors will come in; the quality of your O Level will be added to it, Post-UTME scores will be added to it;

“If you are going to NDA, your physical exercise will be added to it before we can say that you are the best; before we rank you, so why rank people prematurely?

“You will see somebody saying my son scored 330, and in addition to that, he had 7 A1s. Is he not qualified? He might be qualified when you are ranking people in your village; when it comes to Nigeria, he may be 650 despite the so-called brilliance to you,” he said.

Following the commencement of the 2024 UTME on Friday, Oloyede appealed to candidates who experienced glitches in the course of the examination to remain calm as they would be rescheduled to write the exam.

According to him, so far the UTME has been going smoothly as only one centre has been reported to have encountered issues.

“We appeal to the public to understand this, some centres will fail. I have heard of only one centre that has failed today.

“By the end of today, I expect about 10 percent of the centres to have one problem or the other because we know the level of development in different parts of the country.

“We are not encouraging this, but when it happens, please do not disrupt others.

“It is important to note that when a session fails because of a problem, you cannot bring those candidates to do session two, they will have to step aside, and the headquarters will have to be contacted.

“The earliest time they can be scheduled will be after 4:30 p.m. so that those slated for sections two and three can write, and these candidates can now write for session four, and in some cases, they can even be scheduled for the following day,” the JAMB boss stated.

Recall also that JAMB had empowered owners of Computer Based Centres, CBT, to arrest parents seen near the examination halls, alleging that in most cases they aid and abet malpractices.

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