Two weeks after the commencement of the sale of the 2017/2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) forms, the exercise has been dogged by controversy as prospective candidates complain of scarcity of electronic-Pins required for registration.
Multigist reporter, who has been monitoring the exercise since March 20, learnt that prospective candidates for the examination were having difficulties in getting registered
In what has been seen as a sharp departure from what obtained in the past, when candidates were only required to procure scratch cards and got their registration done at cybercafes, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, (JAMB), in addition to phasing out scratch cards and replacing them with e-Pins, had restricted the sale of the e-Pins to banks, state offices of the examination body and approved CBT centers across the country.
Explaining the rationale behind the introduction of e-PIN vending registration, JAMB Acting Zonal Coordinator in Nasarawa State, Moses Akobu, said the move was aimed at preventing examination fraud.
Akobu expressed confidence that the new registration process would also eliminate problems of mismatching of names and passports.
According to him, “in the past, JAMB asked candidates to buy scratch cards from banks and do their registration in any cybercafe of their choice. But the board discovered that in the process, candidates encountered problems such as mismatch of names and passports. This mismatch often created problem on the day of the examinations.”
Many candidates and their parents have, however, continued to lament their inability to get e-Pins almost two weeks after the sale of the forms began as students besieged various registration centers without being able to register for the examination.
Some students who spoke to Sunday Sun reporter said the tortuous process of registration was taking its toll on their preparation for the examination as they continued to queue endlessly to get e-Pins. The development, it was gathered, had forced many candidates and their parents to resort to patronizing unaccredited agents who helped them in getting the e-Pins at costs much higher than the stipulated N6,200 being the cost of the forms, recommended texts and charges by CBT centers.
Investigation showed that the cost of the forms from unapproved individuals and centers ranges from N8,000 to N15,000.
A candidate who simply identified himself as Olanrewaju said he decided to pay to an agent after days of fruitless search for e-PIN. “I paid N8,000 on Monday and got my PIN this morning (Thursday). I hope I will be able to complete my registration latest by tomorrow because there are so many people ahead of me and the process is very slow,” he said.
An official of one of the banks designated for the sale of the forms, however, blamed the difficulty being encountered in generating e-PIN for candidates on JAMB. “The problem has to do with JAMB because the Pins are being generated from their platform. It is not as if we are not serious in attending to the candidates.