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The Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) went a step higher in 2013 with the Computer Based Test (CBT). For most of us, this was a necessary and timely innovation on their part. Most Nigerians are either giving a bow or a round of applause to the JAMB team.
THEN In the 90’s, when students sat for JAMB, it was a whole different ball game from now. The examination was kept on a pedestal of FEAR for most students. As opposed to recent times, most people wrote JAMB a minimum of twice, before they could ever think of gaining admissions. As a result, exam malpractice became a common denominator in the JAMB examinations. It seemed that no matter the angle approached to tackle this scourge, it just would not go away. Parents were a major part of the growth and immortality of exam malpractice at this time. For a good number of students also, there was a feeling that their papers were not being handled fairly. There was a belief that the results were “given” by those who marked instead of really being what they “got” in the examination. There was also the issue of not finding your result when the results were released, or, exam centre results being ceased. This caused problems for even the innocent ones in those centres. The step that JAMB took in 2013 has really changed everything. When we heard about this new decision, there was a mix of both anticipation and skepticism (good and bad): Can this really work? Finally, JAMB will be free and fair! Hmm, will Nigerians not find a way around it? Will my children be able to pass their exam now? Can we still cheat? NOW There is a renewed confidence in the students writing the exams. The confidence stems from the belief that, machines are better than people. The knowledge that at least two days later you have your result is also a great motivation and sense of relief to students now. It now encourages young people to read as opposed to waiting to “sort” (give bribes or pay mercenaries). On account of the CBT, the students need a general knowledge of basic computer skills, which in turn, adds value to each student in the long run. New things are not always easy to accept, but all parents and guardians should embrace and wholeheartedly support this move, knowing that your children and wards would be better off in the long run. On a lighter note: I wish I was writing JAMB now. Question: In the early 2000’s universities started conducting their own tests after students passed JAMB and “gained admission” into their institutions. For most of us, the reasons seemed obvious with the plague of malpractice at the time. Now that there is the CBT is there still a need for that post UTME? Can’t the universities work with JAMB to settle the needs they believe JAMB was not meeting (if any)?