Tears and Agony At Post UTME Exams

More than 34,000 students that wrote the recent Post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (UNIZIK) went home dejected. The computer-based test deflated their hopes, as they answered 20 questions unrelated to their preferred courses in 10 ticking minutes. To nail their dream of admission, UNIZIK can barely handle the overwhelming number.

It is the same sad

story at the University of Ibadan, where 30,000 applicants had to fight for only 3,500 admission spaces. Lesser number would make the admission list of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) out of the 30,000 applicants. At the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), only 3500 would be admitted out of the 12,500 applicants. The University of Lagos decisively sat on the information about the number of applicants and the spaces available, perhaps, to stave off further public outcry to its already sullied image.

In fact, over one million candidates fight for less than 500,000 spaces in Nigeria’s higher institutions yearly. In 2014, the JAMB Registrar, Prof Dibu Ojerinde, stated that only 35 per cent of the 1,735,892 candidates that wrote the UTME in 2013 were admitted. Many are called, but few are chosen has become a popular cliché describing this unfortunate situation.

With tears in her eyes, an agitated student that participated in the post UTME organized by the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who gave her name as Ifedi, said they had 10 minutes to answer 20 questions. She said the test was compounded by technical hitches, as some of the computers went off before the time.

Ifedi, who had 240 in her UME, said she was on the third question when the invigilator announced that they had six minutes left.

“People cried out in the hall. I started punching answers without reading the questions. How can I answer 20 questions in different subjects, unrelated to my preferred course of study in 10 minutes?” she wondered.

One of the candidates described the situation as chaotic. In his words, “I’ve heard so much about this institution and this is too degrading compared to what I heard. Can you imagine that we came here around 8am, we stood in the rain for several hours? The process is just too slow and the university management should find a way to accommodate this large number”, he said.

Another candidate, Miss Chekwube Eze, who was among the first batch that wrote the exam, said they had little time for the test. Another candidate said she was on the seventh question when the computer she was using logged her out.

Some of the students said that the test lacked credibility because wrong questions were shuffled for them for different courses. For instance, a candidate that applied for Igbo Education wrote Mathematics in the test, while another that applied for Law had Biology questions to answer. One of the candidates, who gave his name as James, said he applied for Law but was shocked to see Mathematics and Biology questions. Another candidate, who applied for Law, said he had to contend with Chemistry questions, which were different from the English, Literature, Government and CRS that other candidates answered.

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