The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) said it has registered 321 visually impaired candidates for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
The Head, JAMB Information and Media, Dr Fabian Benjamin, made this known in an interview on Tuesday in Bwari.
Benjamin said that the figure was higher than the 201 candidates registered for the examination in 2016. He said that adequate arrangement has been made for the visually impaired candidates to participate fully in the forthcoming UTME. According to him, the board used to conduct the Computer Based Test (CBT) using Braille Apex Machine, but most of them complained about its usage.
“They said they do not know how to use these machines: we are going to bring all visually impaired persons to come and write the exam in a particular location. “It could be Digital Bridge in Lagos or Digital Bridge in Abuja. “One of the things we have always done for them is to ensure that the few of them that meet the minimum requirement get it.
“We encourage universities to admit them; we also give them courses that they want to read, so that we can give room for inclusiveness. “So that is our preparation as it relates to visually impaired candidates; they are 321 that is 18 per cent of the 1.7 million candidates that registered for this year’s UTME,” the JAMB’s spokesman said.
The visually impaired candidates who sat for the 2015/2016 UTME practiced with the Braille Apex machine at their respective centres a day before the main examination. The practice was also done in the 2015 edition of the UTME through the use of CBT platform.
He explained that the Board often encourage universities to offer admission to visually impaired candidates who met the basic requirement, saying that 2017 will not be an exception.
Benjamin said plans were underway to employ the services of experts in the field of education, to be able to achieve the desired goal. “We will get some of Nigeria’s best hands in some of those various subjects that they are going to write; these are professors, and people with integrity.
“They will sit down together with the visually impaired candidates; ask the candidates questions, assess them and then rate them, so it is that rating that will be used for admission purposes.”
On preparation to hold the UTME on May 13, he said all hands were on deck to conduct a hitch free exercise. He noted that the Board did not receive any complaint about irregularity in the course of registration of candidates, as being alleged in certain quarters.
“There is no complaint from anybody; we have passed the stage of registration, we registered 1.7 million candidates, so if there are issues, we will not have arrived at that number.
“The hitches that we had were experienced at the initial stage of registration, which was basically as a result of non-compliance with our instruction.
“We have made necessary effort to ensure that those instructions are adhered to, there is no complain as regards registration again across the country,” he added.
He, however, said that the posting of candidates to their various examination centers would start from Tuesday May 9.