The Computer Based Test Centres Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (CPAN), has countered the claim by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) that the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination UTME was successful.
The President of CPAN, Mr Maxwell Akwuruoha, made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.
The body’s leader stated that many JAMB workers deployed on the examination days were either incompetent or connived to carry out malpractices.
He declared that the 2019 examination was marred by both biometric and browser failures from JAMB, with most candidates denied the opportunity to write the test.
Akwuruoha said that more than 2,000 candidates could not write the 2019 UTME due to the biometric and browser failures.
He said: “Biometric and browser failure, incompetence of technical staff, inadequacies in CBT centres and excesses in sales of novels, syllabus and brochures are some of the technical challenges that characterised the 2019 UTME exercise.
“Biometric enrollment as secured registration medium for UTME and Direct Entry candidates started in 2011, with the introduction of electronic testing actively in 2013 and absolutely in 2015.
“The introduction of technology as electronic testing saved huge costs, initially meant for printing question papers, syllabus, brochure, and logistics for delivery of same.
“But JAMB applied a fire-brigade approach during accreditation, especially with ad hoc workers who were not trained.
“It does not kill anybody to apologise that the biometric system actually failed. We had candidates that were prevented from writing the test because of biometric failures from JAMB.
“The system failed because some of the technical people sent to some centres by JAMB were incompetent. It is only noble that JAMB apologises to these children that were prevented from writing the examination.
“What we are saying is that the biometric solutions deployed by JAMB during the examination was not perfect,” he said.
Akwuruoha added that such technical challenges should not be allowed to happen during the conduct of the 2020 examination.
He called on JAMB to issue to its members a Memorandum of Understanding and adequate time for visitation and accreditation.
The CPAN president also said that the association was ready to partner with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to enroll candidates for the 2020 UTME.
JAMB’s Head of Information, Fabian Benjamin, while reacting to the allegations, described them as “cheap blackmail.”
Benjamin said that the board conducted biometric verification for about two million candidates.
“Let me assume, without conceding, that 2,000 candidates could not be verified, what is the percentage of 2,000 in two million?
“Every candidate that registered properly was verified. So for any candidate who was not verified, it is not as a result of biometric failure.
“Some of them registered in centres that were not approved and some of them did multiple registrations and were therefore blocked.
“If you accused us of examination malpractice, we will tell you that we have been delisting centres involved in that. None of them has ever come with allegations against our workers,” he said.