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‘They Left Us Under Sun For Hours’ — Candidates Recount Ordeals At UTME Centres

When Pearl was leaving for the venue of her Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) last Saturday, she thought she would be back home in no time.

Her exam was billed for 9 am at Memkad Schools CBT centre in the Ijegun axis of Alimosho LGA in Lagos state.

But on getting to the exam venue, she knew that she was in for a tiring ride as candidates expected to start their exams by 7 am were only called into the hall by 8:30 am.

Her concern was further heightened when those who started their exam by 8:30 am finished around 1 pm due to several glitches and inadequate officials to facilitate the process.

It wasn’t until 2 pm that they finally called her batch into the hall. After several delays, they eventually finished the exam by 4 pm — for an exercise that was originally billed for 9 am.

Speaking with TheCable Lifestyle, Pearl said some candidates fainted due to the fact that they were left to stand under the sun and rain for hours before being called into the exam hall.

“I sat for my UTME at Memkad Schools CBT centre in Ijegun, Alimosho LGA, Lagos, on Saturday. My exam was scheduled for 9 am but I got there around 7:30 am. The first thing I noticed was there were lots of students outside the school when I got there,” she said.

“The first set of people who had their exam scheduled for 7 am entered the hall by 8:30 am and finished their exam around 1 pm because they were delayed.

“They left those of us meant to take the exam by 9 am under the sun and rain for hours. When they finally called us, I noticed it was just one man that was handling the thumbprint check for over 300 candidates. It was around 2 pm that we were able to finally enter the hall for the exam.

“It was really slow and they wasted our time. There were some candidates that fainted in the process because of the stress. The keypads of several laptops at the centre were not functional.

“I eventually finished the exam by 4 pm. This was an exam that was scheduled for 9 am. I thought I would be home by 11 am because the exam was only for 1:30 minutes but I got home around 5 pm.”

Like Pearl, several candidates who sat for the 2021 UTME have decried the poor conditions of some centres used for the exercise which started on June 19 and is expected to end by July 3.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had earlier delisted 25 UTME centres following complaints about glitches after the first day of the exam.

On his part, Toluwalase, who took his exam at Al-Miyzan Schools CBT centre in Ikotun axis of Lagos, lamented the delay and lack of coordination at the venue — which was among those delisted.

He said his exam was meant to hold by 7 am but was delayed till 4:30 pm. Toluwalase added that there were several candidates who could not write their exams at the end of the day.

“When I entered the hall, I discovered there was no laptop provided for me to write the exam. So, I joined others who also had different complaints to register our plights. It was then that they moved us to another section within the facility which was close to the restroom,” he told TheCable Lifestyle.

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“Everywhere looked so disorganised, dirty and dusty, clearly showing that they were not prepared for the exercise. My exam was scheduled for 7 am but we started around 4:30 pm.

“There were also issues with connectivity. I had to sort out the issue myself because I have basic knowledge of the computer. There were about 10 candidates in the room that I took the exam but only two of us were able to write the exam successfully.

Mohammed Abbas, another applicant who sat for the UTME at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) CBT centre, also narrated how his exam — billed for 9 am — was delayed till 4 pm.

The candidate said when he eventually entered the hall, the laptop given to him was faulty. He added that by the time it was eventually fixed, his colleagues were already 30 minutes into the exam.

“By 6 pm, candidates who started early were already leaving the hall. I was on question 12 of physics with over 40 minutes left, having finished the other three subjects. Suddenly, all the systems logged out,” he said.

 

“We were about 19 in the hall, we tried logging in again to no avail. The administrator was made aware of the situation. She gave us a piece of paper to write our names on, we were doing that when another woman came and started shouting at us to go out.

“She tore the piece of paper and said it’s none of their business that we couldn’t finish, that it’s late and they have to go home too. Even though we all had time left, I don’t how they could allow us to finish the exam. I think this problem is from the centre, it is not our fault that exam stated for 9 am turned to 4 pm.”

The candidate called on relevant authorities to address the situation, adding that students should not be made to suffer for problems caused by the centre.

“We shouldn’t suffer for it, we are not even sure if our work got submitted or not. We don’t deserve to be cheated of our time like this,” he said.

Efforts by TheCable Lifestyle to get JAMB’s reaction on the matter did not materialise as of the time this report was filed.

Fabian Benjamin, the board’s national public affairs head, did not respond to calls or text message sent to him.

Meanwhile, the exam body has directed candidates scheduled to take the 2021 UTME in the 24 delisted centres to print their notification slips for new dates and time of exams.

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