With effect from 2017, candidates sitting for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) would spend two hours instead of three hours, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board said on Wednesday.
The test on Use of English which used to be 100 questions has been reduced to 60 questions, while the other three subjects would be 40 questions each, making a total of 180 questions.
The organisation said the reduction in hours was in line with international best standards and practices where no candidate sits for an examination such as UTME for more than two hours.
The Registrar/Chief Executive of JAMB, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, announced the changes in Kaduna during the commencement of a strategic planning retreat on monitoring, supervision and evaluation of 2017 UTME with the theme, ‘Inclusiveness and sensitisation of key external actors.’
Oloyede said, “We are going to reduce the duration of the examination for this year’s UTME. You cannot keep children of this age for three hours. For their age, the maximum time you can keep them is two hours. So, we are considering the reduction in the time they spend because once it is more than two hours, you can’t expect that they will retain their presence of mind.”
JAMB also announced innovation in the use of computer for the test, saying, “From the general feedback on the adoption of the Computer Based Test mode, we have noted the challenge of computer low level literacy of some candidates, especially with the phobia for the mouse. This has been responsible partly for the call by some people for reversal to the Paper and Pencil Test mode. In order to ensure equity and level playing field for all candidates taking the UTME, JAMB has designed a system that will allow candidates to use only eight keys without the use of the mouse.
“All the candidates need to do is to press the letters A,B,C,D for responses(answer) to questions and keys: P = Previous question, N = Next question, S = Submit responses when candidate has finished examination R = Reverse (do not intend to go further to submit again).”
JAMB also said special privileges would be accorded to blind candidates in the UTME, including “the transportation and accommodation of every blind candidate and one guide.”
Oloyede said, “In order to amplify the past efforts and also expand the frontiers of equity and inclusiveness, we have met with the executive committee of the Association of Blind Persons in Nigeria at the board’s headquarters in Abuja in February 2017 and we also met with prospective blind candidates from a school for the blind in Lagos about two weeks ago at the University of Lagos.
“The outcome of these meetings revealed that while the challenged group fully appreciates the board’s recent efforts at improving and upgrading the facilities for the administration of the board’s examination for the blind candidates.
He added that out of the 13 commercial banks and the Nigeria Postal Service that signified interest in the sales of the admission forms, only nine had paid for the number of application documents required in the first instance.
He said, “As part of our approach to the ideal of inclusiveness, we invited all Central Bank of Nigeria approved commercial banks to participate in the sale of the 2017 Board’s application documents. Sixteen commercial banks and NIPOST honoured and attended the interactive session where we explained the reason and need for all of them to partake in the exercise.
Oloyede added in pursuit of the all-inclusive approach of JAMB, JAMB had to patronise the NIPOST which could reach remote towns and villages.
“Even when NIPOST could not raise the capital to purchase the pins for the application documents, we had to open a credit line for NIPOST to also vend pin and pay later without reducing the commission that the organisation is entitled to per sale of document.”