Scores of young Nigerians yesterday kicked against the date for the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to be conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
The candidates displayed placards with various inscriptions such as; “Admissions are yet to close, why conducting another UTME now?”; “JAMB isn’t for revenue generation, stop milking our parents,” “2017 UTME held in May, why March in 2018?”, “2018 admissions not transparent”.
They said many of them, who had hoped to be admitted by various institutions during the 2017/2018 academic calendar year, just found out this week that they were not admitted and that less than one month cannot be enough to prepare for another examination.
Addressing the press during the protest, National President of the Association of Tutorial School Operators (ATSO), Dotun Sodunke, said if allowed to hold as scheduled, Nigeria would experience another round of mass failure.
Sodunke added that institutions like the University of Benin, Yaba College of Technology, among others, just released admission list on Wednesday, and that the students who had applied to such institutions would not concentrate on preparation for another examination.
He said; “The new head of JAMB needs to be called to order. He should not be carried away by the euphoria of revenue generation. The future of this country depends on these children.
“JAMB is sure that if you conduct the exam early, many candidates would fail, and they would come back to register again next year. This is so because their children don’t school here.
“Admissions are yet to be concluded, yet you are fixing a date for another one. Who does that? The introduction of the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS) is also a fraud. You would be admitted on JAMB portal and on CAPS page it would deny you admission.
“Everything is done in secrecy as we don’t even know which schools are organizing post-UTME and which ones are not. Every institution is doing what it wants. Things must not go on like this.”
Reacting, JAMB spokesman, Dr Fabian Benjamin, explained that there was yet no basis for the postponement.
Benjamin said; “We need to place the interest of this country above selfish interest. The candidates are not the ones staging a protest but the tutorial centres operators and parents must intervene to rein them in”, New Telegraph quoted him as saying.
“They are doing this because they want to keep the candidates at their centres until May so that they can get more money from them. Things are not done that way.
“JAMB is not alone in this business. All stakeholders in Nigeria’s education sector have realised that our calendar must be organised and firm as we experience abroad, and it must start somewhere.
“Even if heaven will fall, the new government wants to ensure that academic calendar starts every August, and that is why all admissions will be concluded by August this year. So if these candidates are affected, we apologise to them, it is for their good and the good of the nation.”