JAMB ends 2020 UTME as 341 blind candidates sit for exam
This year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examination (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board (JAMB) has ended on Saturday nationwide.
Over 1. 9 million candidates including a total of 341 blind persons sat the exam at the various computer-based centres (CBT) spread across the country.
Around 1. 8 million candidates sat for the exam last year out of which 390 were blind.
The one-week long exam, however, had all the blind candidates as the last batch of the exercise distributed across 12 designated centres nationwide with Lagos having the largest candidates (48).
Our correspondent monitored the exercise at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, which served as a centre for both Lagos and Ogun states. The Chairman of Equal Opportunity Group and former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Peter Okebukola, and some members of the group directly supervised the exercise at the centre.
Equal Opportunity Group, comprising senior lecturers including experts in special education is a creation of JAMB in 2017 to specifically conduct UTME for candidates to ensure that no qualified Nigerian notwithstanding his or her disability will be denied taking the exam or seeking admission into tertiary schools nationwide.
The blind candidates just like their other mates were assessed in a total of 19 subjects including the use of English and Mathematics with each doing four subjects as applicable to their proposed courses of study and they were allowed to make use of instruments as convenient including braille and typewriter to write their exams.
But unlike regular candidates who sit their papers once, blind candidates write theirs per subject and it is JAMB that is responsible (except exam fee) for their transportation and that of their guide persons from their homes to the exam centres, hotel accommodation for those who could not go home as well as feeding.
Okebukola said JAMB took the step to provide the same platform for all candidates and that the method had been a great booster to the enrollment of blind persons into tertiary schools in the country.
He disclosed that a total of 175 out of 390 candidates (representing 44.8 per cent) who sat the exam last year secured admission with most of them at UNILAG, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; University of Abuja and Bayero University, Kano.
But when asked what brought about the decision to increase the exam centres from four of that of last year to 12 this year, he said the idea was to bring the venues closer to candidates and also a response to limit congregational gathering at a time in the country to a maximum of 50 as part of measures against the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 in and outside the country.
Some of the candidates who shared their experiences with our correspondent said except that they received the information of moving their exam to Saturday morning which was two days earlier than the originally scheduled time, they have a hitch-free exam.
One of them, Mr Sodiq Alalade from Ayetoro-Yewa, Ogun State, said he believes he did well in his exam and would obtain enough marks to secure his admission to UNILAG.