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Students (commonly referred to as Jambites) awaiting admission into Nigerian universities can now rest their minds as the governing board for the UTME (Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination), Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) in collaboration with the Nigerian Senate, have increased the validity period for a UTME result to three years as opposed to one year. Also, the cost of UTME forms have been reduced from N5,650 to N2,500.

The decision will be well received by the Jambites who wait, year after year, to take the exams after encountering obstacles like the wrong choice of university or course. “The first time I took the UTME, then called UME, I was 17 and my parents influenced my course choice, although I wanted something different. I had to take the exam again when I turned 18 and could decide for myself despite scoring 297, way past my school’s cut-off mark,” says Angela Okoro.

Although no reason was given for the Senate’s decision, it could be due to the fact that the country’s finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, recently accused the board, JAMB as well West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council (NECO) of fraudulent activities. Last month, during a press briefing, she said the examination body already had its capital and overhead costs handled by the government. She stated that the body was guilty of declaring only a part of its profits as opposed to the full amount which was about N16 billion.

It may also be due to the fact that over the years, JAMB has been accused of taking advantage of students seeking admission to various universities around the country through the rigorous requirements which often take a toll on them. Considering the former price of the examination forms for instance, N5650 is a lot of money, this does not include the airtime students will need to purchase to access information about their results and centers online. Also, they need to purchase scratch cards, so for those who have to take the exams year after year, it becomes a money-draining process.

Mr. Bernard Odumaye has shared experiences with his children as regards challenges with the UTME and he blames it all on the Computer Based Test (CBT) introduced by JAMB in 2013. “It is better the Senate has lightened the load on jambites, not all of them fail, some of them have other issues. The next thing we need the Senate to act on is the Computer Based Test (CBT), a lot of students do not pass the examination due to inter-connectivity failure during the exams,” he said.

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