Let’s do a little experiment. Note what comes to mind when you read the following acronyms for international exams: SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, CIPFA, MCAT. Are you there yet? Having traced this picture, try and think of the processes involved.
The mode of examination. How results are collated, analyzed and reported. Now let’s try the same thing with this new acronym: UTME. You blinked, admit it. And of course, you have every right to. The easiest comparisons still place international examination standards light years ahead of anything Nigeria has pulled off. And it is no secret. You didn’t have to be a seasoned educator or a highly trained analyst to know that we really need to up the ante if our education system is going to survive the dire need for better trained professionals in the future.
It has become common knowledge.
It is therefore incredibly ironic that we would battle and refute the logic of a professor in Testing and Measurement, with over thirty years of experience at various points in the education system, when he says we need to embrace the technological age. What amazes more is that many of these protests are being led by young people, and their rants are loudest on social media!! Why would there be a protest against technology by children of the technological age?
Why would there be staunch opposition to getting results via text when these days our phones need to be surgically removed from us and our thumbs have evolved into delicate communication devices rather than grasping tools?
It does not, therefore, take a genius intellect or a talent in clairvoyance to reveal that those behind the protests against adopting the CBT are people who simply stand more to gain over a well-oiled system of manipulation via pen and paper. Yes, exam centre “managers”, we are talking about you.
As Professor Ojerinde said: “The organisers of the protest did not do it in the interest of the candidates but done as a result of their frustration due to their inability to perpetuate their planned acts of irregularities. Majority of these people who are frustrated collected huge sums of money from the candidates, they were the organisers of the protest, and we have adequate information to prove it.”
With the CBT’s capabilities curbing the power that these malevolent meddling middlemen had over candidates, and the very reality of it becoming a nationwide staple, there were more than a few who soon came to realize their opportunities for leeching fast money off of young hopefuls would cease to exist.
JAMB wanted to deal closely with its candidates from now on, and would see that their exams were written properly! That their scores would be recorded without manipulation! That no one would use extortion to withhold results!
Had the youths, who were deceived into following these protests knew of the safeguards being put in place for their own interest, they would have questioned much that was reported to them by these vanguards of vice.
However, their first point of call remained the test centres, and it was from there that they were misdirected and fed lies about the CBT process. The new approach by JAMB is not centred on rumour or the inclinations of a single individual.
Rather it is the hard work of an organisation that has been careful, patient and strategic in the fulfilling of its mandate, a fact that can be attested to by the large amount of statistics that JAMB collates on a regular basis. It is a scientific approach, responsive to the needs of the education sector and the country at large.