Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Registrar Prof. Ishaq Oloyede yesterday said the much-awaited Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) will hold in May as part of steps to check malpractices.
He also said the agency had handed over 10 officials to the police for investigation in connection with fraud associated with sales of scratch cards.
Prof. Oloyede said JAMB had eliminated the use of scratch cards because UTME candidates were being extorted.
He said: “For the 2017 UTME, we have taken a decision to commence the sale of the form soon. Within the next two weeks, we will be out. The reason for this is that we are making all arrangements that ought to be made. We have changed the process of payment, no more scratch card selling. We need to put the right architecture in place and we have put this in place.
“The examination will be coming up later than usual. This is to make sure we take into consideration the interest of the students. We are going to conduct the UTME in May. It will not clash with any SSCE examinations
“I did not sit here or my management did not fix the date. We sat down with all examination bodies with their timetables and we agreed to create this window.”
He said the new timing of the UTME was to check any form of malpractice, especially upgrading of results.
He said: “Normally, we conduct our examinations around March and the results will be ready within two to three days. But when do we need the results? It is always between July and August. This gives room for all forms of suspicion. If you go on the net, you will see people claiming that they could help candidates to upgrade their results because the results are lying fallow between March and July.
“Now we want to shorten the period in such a way that the time between the examination and when the results will be used will be very short. There will be no opportunity for anybody to even dream of upgrading results.
“We are also using that opportunity to communicate with other Examination bodies like WAEC, NECO and NABTEB to ensure that we do not make our examinations mutually exclusive. Somebody is taking WAEC examinations, he wants to take JAMB but in some cases due to clash of timetable, he wants to sacrifice one for the other.
“So, we have harmonized in such a way that the period we are going to use for our examination, all other examination bodies will not have examinations during the period.
Asked how many candidates will sit for UTME this year, the Registrar said the agency is expecting about 1.7million.
“That figure (1.7m candidates) was last year’s figure and we do not expect less this year. We expect about 1.5million candidates for UTME and about 200,000 and 300,000 candidates for Direct Entry. That was how we arrived at the figure and that is the figure we are also expecting, “he said.
“I or the management will not promise a hitch-free examination because when you are doing the type of re-engineering we are doing, you cannot say that there will be no hitches. But we believe that we are on top of it and whatever problem arises, we will solve it.
“Everybody will however have fair treatment and everybody will be well-treated. This is what I can assure Nigerians.
Prof. Oloyede confirmed that 10 officials of JAMB were handed over to the Police over scratch cards-related fraud.
Oloyede went on: “What we have done is to fine tune what is being done to make our services better for the public. We have taken some very painful decisions like elimination of scratch cards. We know that some people make their living from sale of scratch cards but that is not the type of living we want to encourage because it is extortion.
“They buy the cards from our staff and they sell at exorbitant price to the users. The scratch card has a particular amount of N1, 000 or N2, 500 but they up selling the cards for four to five times the price. Apart from that, scratch card has left to massive corruption in the system.
“As I’m talking to you now, 10 members of our staff are with the police. We have handed over to the police for one corrupt practice or the other related to scratch cards.”