In view of the hiccups encountered with the introduction of biometric finger prints in the conduct of last weekend's Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has reviewed the operations for the examination and recommendations for improvement in future works made, Dibu Ojeinde, the Registrar of JAMB has said.
Mr Dibu, who acknowledged that some problems were encountered during the examination, said this include "lukewarm attitude of some officials on ground, seeming compromise on the part of some unscrupulous centre supervisors and invigilators, late-coming and general indiscipline on the part of some of the officials."
JAMB, in statement issued yesterday in Abuja by its spokesperson, Timothy Oyedeji, quoted the registrar as saying that "the board would be better focussed by engaging a more superior technology that will tackle the few problems associated with delays. At least 2 computer systems would be used per examination centre or the reduction of candidates per centre by half, bringing the figure to be handled by each centre to 270 candidates, from the present 540."
Another way to go about, this he said, is to allow candidates entry into examination halls while the biometrics would be done when the examination is ongoing.
The board also disclosed plans to revisit the inclusion of traditional rulers in the whole exercise. It said this has been found to be effective and is a way of getting around with security challenges sometimes experienced on the field.
The 2011 UTME examination review session, which has been concluded, is expected to be valuable to the planning process for hitch free outings in the future, Mr Oyediji said.
Mr Ojerinde had commended staff of the examination body for a job well done, in-spite of challenges such as identification and delay noticed during the exercise. He insisted that nothing serious that could undermine the integrity of the examination was noticed.
"There were bound to be problems, especially with the newly introduced innovation - the Ďbiometric System," he told the staff, supervisors and UTME coordinators in Abuja.
He however, was quick to add that they should not be overwhelmed to the extent of undermining the credibility of the exercise.
Speaking at Butat Government Secondary School, Garki Area 10, Abuja after monitoring the examination last Saturday, Mr Ojerinde said: "I know, to start with, the biometric was a little bit of a problem. In places where they (JAMB officials) started the usage late, definitely, they won't get immediate results. So, they were late. And we had to tell them to cancel it, and use the e-slip as well as the attendance register to check in the children, and I think that has helped in a way because, usually, the e-slip and the attendance register used to be a backup." He also said although the biometric machines available for the examination was few, that was not the reason for the shortcomings experienced.
"I don't think the number matters. Do you know that for each machine, we have 540 cases inside it? There was no need for late operation. If the people had stuck to what was given to them; that they should start by 6am, for example, they would have finished this thing. However, I think we have to look at the strategy again. I think what we can do is to reduce the number of candidates per centre; instead of 540 per centre, we can reduce it to about 300," he said.
JAMB 2011 examination reviews.