By Chinyere Nwachukwu
Lagos – Twenty three visually impaired candidates from Bethesda Home for the Blind sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) on Friday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 321 blind candidates registered for the examination nationwide.
JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, had earlier in the month in Abuja, told newsmen that adequate provisions had been made to attend to the needs of the special candidates for the examination.
He said that the desire of the board was to ensure that no visually impaired candidate is deprived of sitting for the examination.
The Proprietress of the Home, Mrs Chioma Ohakwe, told NAN that she was expecting 100 per cent success at the end of the examination.
Candidates from the Home, she said, recorded 90 per cent performance in 2016.
Ohakwe told NAN that all the blind candidates went through rigorous preparations for the examination.
She commended JAMB for the efforts it made to ensure that visually impaired candidates were well catered for to sit for the examination.
“Gathering all blind candidates from various zones and lodging them in hotels, days to the examination and other logistics was not easy.
“This is an innovation that had been lacking before now; it is worth commending JAMB for it.
“The candidates feel more at home and interacted freely with their colleagues,’’ Ohakwe said.
The proprietress called on JAMB to ensure that blind candidates were obliged placements in their institution of first choice and course of study.
She said: “we have been having instances where candidates are offered courses that they were not familiar with and universities outside their choice.
“For instance, some of these blind candidates, who might have opted for placement at the University of Lagos, are sometimes sent to another university.
“Some of them may choose Mass Communication but eventually offered Philosophy.
“We therefore appeal to JAMB to help look into these issues, considering the special case of their disability.’’
The supervisor of blind candidate centre in Lagos, Prof. Peter Okebukola, told NAN that 127 blind candidates, drawn from all the states in the South-West were writing the examination at the centre.
“All the blind candidates nationwide are writing the examination in four zonal centres located in Kano, Abuja, Enugu and Lagos.
“The examination is going on smoothly and the candidates are happy and doing well.
“As expected, they are writing the examination with technology that is convenient for their status,’’ Okebukola said.
One of the blind candidates, Hamed Kareem, said many of his colleagues would prefer writing the examination with the Braille Note Apex Machine.
He complained that the interactive mode used for the examination this year, was slowing them down in the process of answering the questions.
“This year, we are using the interactive mode, where the examiners dictate the questions to us and we respond by using our typewriters or braille.
“Sometimes, we may not get the wordings right and when we try to seek for clarification, it takes time.
“We will, therefore, prefer our CBT mode like our sighted colleagues as it is faster for us and more convenient,’’ Kareem said.
Faith Ihedioha, another visually impaired candidate, however, commended JAMB for measures put in place to cater for their welfare during the examination.
She said preferred to write the examination through the CBT mode, instead of the interactive mode.