Amid seven-month-old ASUU strike, JAMB rolls out fresh guidelines ahead of 2023 UTME

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rolled out fresh guidelines for candidates and other stakeholders ahead of the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

The new guidelines were rolled out by the board in its weekly bulletin published on Monday, September 26, 2022.

The board in the new guidelines said all Computer-Based Test (CBT) centres must henceforth use laptops running on at least 2 gigabytes (2GB) RAM for the conduct of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) tests.

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It has also barred CBT centres from collaborating with cyber cafes or tutorial centres, saying “any violation of the directive, whether in part or whole, would lead to the revocation of the licence of the erring CBT centre.”

JAMB also announced that it would consider separating UTME registration from that of Direct Entry (DE) beginning in 2023.

JAMB said: “No new Computer-Based Test (CBT) centre would be accredited without meeting the new requirements. To this end, new CBT centres must use laptop computer systems as clients, zero thin clients or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) would no longer be accepted.

“It became necessary for the board to modify its operations towards achieving far-reaching improvements on various issues emanating from the registration process, biometric challenges, and other operational procedures.”

For the accreditation of the CBT centres, JAMB said it would introduce three mandatory autobot tests –pre-accreditation, during Mock-UTME and the dummy examination (which is held a day before the UTME) – to confirm the readiness of the centres.

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“Another key reason for the decision was the need to prevent IP address duplication and abuse,” it said.

JAMB Registrar, Ishaq Oloyede, also stated that biometrics of all accredited CBT centre registration officers would be captured ahead of the exercise.

JAMB also said candidates must use at least two fingers to print their registration slip. “Any of the two fingers taken would be used for biometric verification prior to entering the examination hall on the day of the examination,” it said.

At the registration point, candidates with bad fingerprints would be scheduled for the examination as “Exemption Candidates” and their registration slips would be colour-coded to be different from those of other candidates.

JAMB said such candidates would sit their examination in Abuja on the last date of the national examination calendar and that their results would not be released until after being subjected to proper scrutiny.

The development is coming amid the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which has grounded academic activities in public varsities for more than seven months.

Recall, JAMB coordinates admissions in all Nigerian Universities, both public and private, and is required to certify the quality secondary students for admission into universities through an examination.

While JAMB’s timeline works perfectly for many private universities, it has destabilized the systems of public universities as they struggle to catch up with the volume of student qualified to enroll. Their struggle is mostly as a result of time being lost during ASUU strike.

With the ongoing strike, it is said that the Nigerian public universities might lose a session.

A lecturer at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) who spoke in an interview said most universities have two sets of students ready to resume the academic session.

“Those admitted in 2021 were meant to resume after the second-semester examination early this year but were halted due to the strike. Now, another set of students sat for UTME this year, waiting for admission processes.

“You know universities have been trying hard to recover from the COVID-19 lockdown, during which schools were shut, and now we have this prolonged ASUU strike. I really don’t know how this would be handled,” the lecturer, who pleaded anonymity, said.

The union is demanding the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

The government had claimed to have addressed most of the union’s demands including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities but said the that the union will not be paid the arrears of the strike period.

ASUU has also insisted on not calling off the lingering strike until the arrears are settled.

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