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1.O54m candidates to write UME Saturday

Posted by By MODESTUS CHUKWULAKA, Abuja on 2008/05/14 | Views: 1033 |

1.O54m candidates to write UME Saturday


A record 1,054, 043 candidates will this Saturday write the Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) for admission into first degree programmes in the Nigerian universities for the 2008/2009 academic session. However, only about 200,000 representing 20 per cent of the figure will eventually be admitted in existing universities.

A record 1,054, 043 candidates will this Saturday write the Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) for admission into first degree programmes in the Nigerian universities for the 2008/2009 academic session. However, only about 200,000 representing 20 per cent of the figure will eventually be admitted in existing universities.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday in Abuja on preparations being made for a smooth conduct of the examination in 1,979 centres within and outside the country, Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, said the difference of 142,364 applications received for the UME this year represents a 15 per cent increase from the s number that applied in 2007.

The examination will take place simultaneously in 169 towns across the country and in five others, outside the country, namely Accra (Ghana), Buea (Cameroun), Cotonou (Benin Republic), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and London (UK). Forty-six coordinating institutions and supervisors have been mobilized for the purpose of the exercise.

In a bid to ensure a hitch-free conduct of the examination, Ojerinde said the examination body had put adequate measures in place, including the use of electronic devices that would demobilize telephone handsets within examination centres to ensure candidates do not use their mobile phones for examination malpractice purposes.

JAMB is also incurring an additional cost of N14, 842, 500 in payment for private security personnel to augment the services of the police at the examination venues in order to forestall incidence of cheating during the examination. The JAMB chief executive said three private security operatives to be deployed at each of the 1,979 centres is to be paid N2, 500.
“The board would leave no stone unturned in its quest to ensure a more credible examination,” he said, warning candidates against the use of handsets and other communication gadgets in and around the examination venue.

Blaming the major problems encountered by JAMB in the conduct of UME over the years to the unwholesome activities of some supervisors who encourage examination malpractice, Ojerinde said such acts had impacted negatively on the image and credibility of JAMB and its examinations.
“The board is also reminding those intending to cheat that the names of indicted schools, supervisors, invigilators, staff of the board and anyone found culpable of any unethical behaviour in the board’s examination would be black listed and would be subjected to other forms of administrative disciplinary actions,” he said.

According to the JAMB registrar, the examination will only take place in campuses of universities and other tertiary institutions in towns and in a number of towns like Ife, Nsukka, Okene, Awgu and Afuze which remain blacklisted for their past notoriety for examination malpractice.
Describing the increase in the number of candidates writing the UME in recent years as significant, jumping from 629, 600 in 2006 to 911, 679 last year to 1, 054,043 this year, Ojerinde attributed the increase to factors ranging from the scraping of direct admission for students in preliminary programmes to the increase in number of secondary schools across the country.

He regretted that despite the increasing number of candidates writing the UME this year, only about 20 per cent or 200, 000 of them would eventually be admitted in the universities. He ascribed this to the problem of access to the universities and made a case for the establishment of more universities in the country to cater for the teeming number of students who are leaving the secondary schools.

Unless the problem of access is addressed, Ojerinde predicted, the problem would grow out of hand in the next four to five years when more than four million candidates would be sitting for UME annually. He said by that time, those who are currently on the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme would be ready for university education, pointing out that unless something was done, there would be crisis of access to tertiary education in the country.

He urged candidates for Saturday’s examination to check their examination centres electronically either through their e-mail boxes or the web site of JAMB. They are to print their slips containing their numbers, names, examination towns and centres as well as numbers from the internet.

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