How technology exposed multiple exam frauds at UNILAG post-UTME screening

The University of Lagos (UNILAG) has uncovered various forms of malpractice perpetrated by candidates in the just concluded 2020/2021 post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (post- UTME) aptitude test.

The deployment of technology in remote format in the conduct of the examination led to this discovery.

Although 21,955 candidates who scored a minimum of 200 out of 400 marks in the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations UTME) conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) chose UNILAG as their first choice were invited for the computer-based exam, only 19, 208 out of the figure eventually participated in the examination.

Nigerian Tribune monitored the exercise at the examination’s control room of the institution on Monday last week, and gatherd that no fewer than 30 examination officials in different locations across the globe also monitored the candidates through their laptops while the eight-day examination lasted

It will be recalled this is the first time the institution will conduct post-UTME aptitude test in a remote computer-based format due to the COVID-19 pandemic as candidates in the previous editions sat for the same examination physically on campus.

It was observed that while some candidates followed the rules guiding the conduct of the examination sent to them through their email addresses a week before the commencement of the exercise, others were seen flouting the rules by indulging in different malpractices.

One of the rules of the examination required every candidate to use a computer with a webcam and microphone-enabled that functions well with webcam, and which should be left uncovered throughout the period of the examination.

Besides the ‘no wearing of face mask nor face caps’, every student was also expected to be alone in the examination venue wherever they were writing the test and not permitted to leave their seats or the test tab for another tab or application on the computer while the examination lasted.

The consequences against any erring candidate were also clearly stated.

The students were given a total of 40 questions and tested in English Language, Mathematics and General Studies for 30 minutes.

Nigerian Tribune, however, noticed that some persons who may be parents of the candidates were helping them during the examination.

Some candidates even blurred their faces because the webcam of their computers were turned off during the monitoring, while some candidates were seen snapping their questions with mobile phones and sending them to people for assistance.

It was also gathered that while some candidates used projector, some strategically positioned themselves where their identities were not clearly seen.

Investigations also revealed that the first assignments of the examination officials was to match candidates’ faces with their passport photographs submitted to JAMB, and then record the activities of each candidate for the 30 minutes allotted time.

Speaking to newsmen at the venue after the exercise,  the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe said  about 900 candidate were ‘flagged’ for indulging in various forms of malpractice, adding that their fate would be determined later by the senate of the university.

He said the 225 candidates who had genuine complaints as of the two days earlier, and those who might surface later with their complaints bordering on problems linked with internet network and power outage from the candidates’ end, would certainly be rescheduled to have their test, and  the promise had already been fulfilled.

While giving the examination a 95 per cent success rate, Professor Ogundipe said the university was particularly surprised to read in some online newspapers reports discrediting the examination without verifying facts.

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