Poor network, delayed response mar UTME registration

• JAMB orders refund of SMS charge to candidates

Poor network and delayed response from telecommunication service providers have marred the ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Direct Entry registration by candidates.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has accordingly ordered the telecommunication service providers to refund candidates charges for successful SMS in the attempt to generate their profile code because of poor network or delayed response.

Each Short Message Service (SMS) cost N50 on the major telecoms service providers.

Registrar of JAMB, Prof Is-haq Oloyede, who spoke after a meeting with stakeholders, on Monday, at the headquarters of the board in Bwari, said the service providers and JAMB agreed on the refund.

He, however, said the refund did not apply to candidates who entered the wrong code while trying to generate their profile codes.

There had been an outcry from parents of applicants for this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination because they could not create their profile codes despite being charged for the service.

Oloyede also lamented that parents were being extorted by telecoms service providers by sending request unsuccessfully to the telcos.

He said: “All those concerned will have to go back and ensure that when a service is not fully rendered and if there had been any charge that had been made this should be refunded to the candidates.

“We have reached this agreement with Digital Pulse that we will work with the service providers to make sure that the service providers refund where they have taken money from candidates.

“I have a parent who said she sent the message (to create a profile) 500 times; the message was not going, the service was not delivered and N50 was being deducted. This is the general outcry from across the country and that is one of the reasons we called this meeting.

“And the first thing is that any such money is refunded but because JAMB does not have the capacity to know whether this is refunded or not; we are not in a position to know whether the money has been refunded or not. We then decided that we are going to expand the stakeholders – that our stakeholders should include Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

“We will immediately invite them to join this task force of ours on this registration and examination so that any act of extortion they have the capacity to deal with any stakeholder that decides to extort candidates. The second one is to invite NCC.

“NCC is the regulatory body for all these telcos. Even if they give us assurance and it is not followed, we do not have the capacity to enforce. That is why we believe the NCC that has the statutory responsibility to enforce should also be brought in as part of our stakeholders.”

The registrar said by Friday, candidates will have the option of using the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data to generate their profile code.

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