Minister Allays Fears as JAMB Holds UTME Nationwide

Nigeria's CrestDespite the ongoing debate as to the relevance of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Saturday conducted the Pen and Paper Testing (PPT) aspect of this year’s UTME as planned throughout the country.

The examination held as the  Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai, saturday disclosed that she had no knowledge of any White Paper recommending the scrapping of the UTME and the National Examination Council (NECO).

About 1.6 million candidates sat for the examination in 3,127 centres across the country and in six foreign centres in Accra, Ghana; Buea, Cameroon; Cotonou, Republic of Benin; London; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Johannesburg, South Africa. About 145 visually impaired candidates and 196 inmates of  Kaduna and Lagos prisons also sat for the examination.

Also, about 100,000 candidates are expected to participate in the Computer-Based Testing (CBT) from May 18 to June 1.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Rufai , has disclosed that less that one third out of those who sat for the UTME would secure admission into the nation’s universities.

Rufai disclosed this during a monitoring exercise of the conduct of the exams in Abuja where she added that the tertiary institutions have a low carrying capacity.

The entire space we have is 520,000. If one  million pass, what are we going to do with the rest 500,000. We will not expand the carrying capacity without expanding the facilities.

Rufai added that the government would consider the possibility of regulating the fees charged by private institutions to allow access by middle income Nigeria.

On the general conduct of the examination, the Board’s spokesperson, Mr. Fabian Benjamin, in a telephone interview,  said the examination was successful, peaceful and that it went as planned. He said the rise in the number of candidates this year was as a result of the new degree-awarding status of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and the Police Academy, which requires students to sit for UTME to secure admission.

Source: ThisDay Live

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