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23 Feb 2018

Candidates protest UTME date, demand postponement

Scores of candidates, who registered for the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, on Monday protested in Lagos against the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board’s decision to schedule the examination for March.

The protesting candidates were led by the National President of the Association of Tutorial School Operators, Mr. Dotun Sodunke.  Many of them were seen carrying placards, which bore various inscriptions.

Addressing journalists during the protest, Sodunke warned that Nigerians might witness mass failure; if JAMB went on to hold the examination as scheduled.

Arguing that the board’s decision to fix the date of the examination for March was not in the best interest of the candidates, he said the latter needed enough time to complete the UTME syllabus before sitting the examination.

Wondering if revenue generation for the Federal Government was more important to the examination body than the education of the candidates and by implication, the future of Nigeria, Sodunke 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. ‘Admissions have not been concluded in many schools, yet JAMB has fixed a date for another one. Where is such a thing done?”

He also described the introduction of the Central Admission Processing System as a “fraud”, saying it was wrong to admit candidates on JAMB’s portal only to deny them admission later on the CAPS page.

“Everything is done in secret. We don’t even know which schools are organising the post-UTME and which ones are not. Every institution is doing what it wants to do.  This thing must not be allowed to continue in this way,” he said.

When contacted for his reaction to the development, the Head of the Press and Public Relations Unit of JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, said there was no basis for the postponement of the examination.

Noting that the date of the 2018 UTME was fixed in December, 2017 and announced to the public, he accused the operators of tutorial centres of misleading the candidates and luring them into protesting against the examination date for their selfish purposes.

However, our correspondent gathered that JAMB’s decision to hold the examination between March 9 and 17 was the result of its agreement with other examination bodies to harmonise all academic time-tables and to ensure that all admissions were concluded in August.

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