This year’s multiple choice computer-based Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), has some features that are different from previous ones. The biometric capturing system according to the Registrar of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Is-haq Oloyede, was done in such a way that all candidates were authenticated for the examination. He said the fingerprint images of all the 10 fingers of each candidate were taken not thumbs as obtainable in the past. He said in the past dubious candidates deliberately avoided thumb image capturing or distort them and on examination day, they were exempted from data authentication; the implication was that others could write the examination for such candidates.
“This year the images of all the 10 fingers were taken and if one fails during authentication others may not. No one will bypass the system.” he said.
A mock UTME was also organised free of charge for candidates to make them familiar with examination and reduce stress and to identify technical challenges with a view to correcting them, the registrar said.
The use of scratch card was cancelled this year and in return candidates paid the N5, 500 examination fees into Treasury Single Account (TSA). The registrar said the board realized that so much money was wasted during previous examinations and with about half of what candidates used to pay or thereabout, the examination would be done contentedly and welfare of examination officials improved. When asked whether or not the examination fee per candidate would be reduced, he said, “If the Federal Government asked us to reduce the money, we have no option than to comply.”
Few days to the examination, civil defence operatives in Abuja uncovered a plan by hackers to gain access into the board’s virtual private network (VPN). A total of seven suspects including a couple were arrested in connection to the crime.
A senior JAMB official was attacked by unknown gunmen in his residence in Bwari, Abuja and was shot in the head. A source said though the official was lucky to have escaped with minor injuries, three laptops containing vital UTME data were carted away.