The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board says more than 1.85 million candidates applied for this year ‘s UTME on its Computer-Based Test (CBT) platform.
The board’s Registrar, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, announced this in a statement emailed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
The statement said that this year’s figure was an improvement on the 1.47 million candidates who applied for the same examination in 2015.
It added that the figure for the 2016 UTME showed an increase of 113, 673 applicants against last year’s figure.
According to the statement, a total of 343 prison inmates nationwide will participate in this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
It said that these inmates would also have access to computers at both the Kaduna and Ikoyi prisons.
“The 2016 UTME will commence on Saturday, Feb. 27 and will last for about 14 days.
“It is, however, expected that all candidates who were unable to conclude their registration process as at Feb. 5, will seize the opportunity of the 48 hours grace of the opening of the portal to do so before mid-night of Feb. 25,” it said.
The board pointed out that this did not include fresh registration.
“The board wants to seize this opportunity to clearly state that the Federal Ministry of Education and JAMB will not be doing this again and prospective future candidates’registration will close as indicated in our advertisement.”.
It noted that the board’s matriculations examination has grown to be a “vitally indispensable gateway” to tertiary institutions in Nigeria with a great measure of performance and integrity emulated globally.
The statement explained that this was inspite of increasing number of candidates and other challenges which the board’s management had consistently addressed.
It said:”For purposes of clarity, let me remind Nigerians that, the first Joint Matriculation Examination (JME) was held in 74 towns in Nigeria and by a special request in Gambia, with a total number of 96,884 candidates tested.
“However, the challenges in the conduct of examination became enormous as the number of candidates increased.
“Question papers were printed flown into Nigeria and transported in trailers escorted by security agents to the Board’s office.
“The distribution of the materials to the various examination towns was also done largely by air, road and so on.
“Materials were stacked up in large cartons and distributed to states from where they were conveyed in vehicles to the custodians.
“This was the story of the board. Today, the Computer Based Test (CBT) has erased all this hurdles and ensures that the system is seamless.
“And we call on Nigerians to continue to support the board in this drive to return the glory of Nigerian education when it was placed far above foreign education.”
According to the statement, in the board’s effort to maximize the few spaces in the country’s tertiary institutions informed the redistribution of candidates in the last admission exercise.
It noted that the policy was grossly misunderstood even though the candidates were those that were “not admitable” based on the prevailing guidelines.
The statement however, said that the board had fine-toned the policy by introducing another choice after the preferred among the schools that are under-subscribed.
It said it would enable the candidates take up a second opportunity if they fail to get their first preferred choice.
” Again, let me use this opportunity to explain the misconception about cut-off points.
“First the cut-off point is not set by the board, but by the policy committee chaired by the Honourable Minister of Education with the board, Vice-Chancellors, Provost of Education, Rectors of Polytechnics, Monotechnics etc.
“The 180 cut-off point is a minimum requirement and not an indication that one is admissible.
“Other factors and criteria of admissions will also follow in arriving at what constitute admissible cut-off point.
” Nigerians should also note that institutions are at liberty to go higher than 180 depending on their peculiarity and this does not in anyway infringe on the powers of the board,” the statement added.
It said that statistics taken by the board had shown that Imo had the highest number of applicants for the 2016 exercise, while the Federal Capital Territory had the least with a total of 5, 069 applicants.
It further said that this year’s examination would hold simultaneously in 521 centres in Nigeria and eight foreign centres including Accra, Buea in Cameroun and Cotonou in Republic of Benin.
The statement listed others as London, Jeddah in Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia, Johannesburg in South Africa, Addis in Ethiopia and Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire.
It said that visually Impaired candidates were expected to take the examination at designated centres in all the state capitals and the FCT.
It noted that a total of 201 visually impaired candidates would also be participating in this year’s examination nationwide.
“It is the board’s desire to ensure that no candidate is deprived of the examination.
“The examination will be conducted using the Braillenote Apex Computers for the visually impaired candidates in order to give them the opportunity to pursue their dreams academically.