By Talatu Bala
Persistent system failure characterized the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination in Danbo International School Kaduna, on Thursday.
A Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria who monitored the exercise in Kaduna on Thursday reports that the examination, which was supposed to last for two hours, lasted for four hours at the centre.
A total of 750 students wrote the examination at the centre, with the first batch made up of 250 candidates expected to write from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., but they could not start until around 9:00 a.m. and they finished around 12:00 p.m.
The second batch that was to commence at 10:00 a.m. could not do so until around 12:00 p.m. because all the computer systems tripped-off a few minutes after the commencement of the examination due to power cut.
Other systems were bad and had to be replaced with back-up, while others kept going off at different intervals as the students wrote the examination.
One of the candidates, Akintola Isaac, told NAN that his system tripped off thrice, adding that any time it tripped, he started all over again.
Akintola, who sat for the examination for the second time, added that the consistent failure of the system did not allow him to finish the examination before he was asked to leave the hall.
“We barely commenced the examination when all the system in the hall went off.
“After getting them running again, my system tripped off three times and it took 10 to 20 minutes to get it working again each time.
“In the long run, I only finished two papers and was on the third one when I was asked to leave the hall, that my time was up.
“When I complained to the JAMB officials and appealed to them to allow me write again, they told me that there was nothing they could do.
“I’m still appealing to JAMB to give me another opportunity because it was not my fault,” he said.
Another candidate, Hamza Gambo, said: “The examination commenced around 9:00 a.m. and shortly after we commenced, electricity went off and the all the systems shut down.
“After restoring the power, which took about 10 minutes, my system tripped off and forced me to wait for 20 minutes before it was restored, and I had to start all over again.
“I was on my fourth paper when I was asked to leave the hall. This is unfair,” she said.
Also, Jamilu Iliyasu, who wrote the examination for the first time, complained that the network was bad, adding that the system kept freezing.
“It was a bad experience because it affected my time. I am not happy at all,” Iliyasu said.
Similarly, Zainab Abdullahi, who wrote the examination for the third time, said her system was not functional and she had to wait for about an hour before she was assigned another one.
However, a candidate, Temitope Adebowale, said that after the initial power cut, the exercise went on smoothly.
“This is my first time and I am confident of scoring between 280 and 300 points,” she said.
When contacted, a JAMB official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the system failure to NAN.
“As you can see, the second set is supposed to enter the hall around 10:00 a.m. after the first set had finished, but they are just entering the hall now and it is already 12:00 p.m.
“I just pray that what happened with the first set will not happen again,” she said.
And when asked about what JAMB would do about Akintola Isaac’s case, she said: “It is officials at the JAMB headquarters that will decide his fate.
“Ours is to write a report, indicating what transpired in the course of the examination for them to take necessary action.”
Also, the Human Resource Manager of Danbo International School, who refused to give his name, confirmed that the electricity in the hall went off due to technical failure.
“When they commenced the examination, we received a complaint that the air conditioning system in the hall was not working and the hall was stuffy.
“I asked one of our technicians to fix it and he went to the switch board to see if there was electricity in the wires that feed the air conditioning system. He hadn’t even open the board when the light went off.
“And for the systems that were bad, we were able to replace them with some back-up system that we kept for such emergency situation,” he added.
Meanwhile, the examination went on smoothly at the Kaduna State University centre, where the examination took place on time without a hitch.
One of the candidates, Abdullahi Abdulrasheed, applauded JAMB and KASU for the smooth conduct of the examination, adding that he was optimistic of getting up to 200 points.