By Leonard Okachie
Umuahia – Some candidates in the ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) have called for the upgrade of the computer systems to provide mathematical calculations for the examination.
A cross-section of the candidates made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, during the 2019 UTME Computer-Based Test (CBT) in Umuahia, the Abia capital.
The candidates, who wrote Mathematics and other science subjects, regretted that the computer did not have scientific calculator.
According to them, since candidates were not allowed to carry calculator and other writing materials into the examination hall, it was difficult for them to solve some problems.
They said that in most cases, they engaged in guess work, whether right or wrong.
Jennifer Onyeka, a candidate of Computer Science, said that although she was proficient in the use of computer, yet “the computer calculator is not scientific.”
Onyeka said: “It is elementary calculator and cannot be used to solve the kind of questions we had in the exam yet we were not allowed to use biro and other writing materials.
“It became difficult to do calculations involving Mathematics, Physcis and Chemistry.”
Also, David Uruakpa, a Banking and Finance candidate, who sat for Mathematics, also complained that he could not solve some of the Mathematics calculations with the in-built calculator.
He said that because there was neither paper nor space to solve the questions, he resorted to guess work in some cases.
Christian Nzubechi, who intended to study Business Administration, said that he encountered challenges in Mathematics because there were no tools to work with.
Nzubechi said: “I really commend JAMB for this CBT method.
“It is better than the former paperwork, but it should consider candidates doing calculations, by installing an application that will assist them.”
Amarachi Okoronkwo, a candidate of Economics, lauded JAMB for a hitch-free examination but said there was still room for improvement.
Okoronkwo said: “I sat for this exam last year but this year’s own was more organised than the previous ones.
“I think JAMB should upgrade the software package to accommodate scientific calculator in the interest of candidates in Mathematics and other science subjects.”
Collins Nweke, however, told NAN that he did not have any difficulty with the use of the computer.
Other respondents also identified the lack of computer skills by some candidates as setback.
Mr Lawrence Ezeigbo, a CBT coordinator for Clems Business Systems Ltd., Umuahia, advised candidates to endeavour to acquire adequate computer skills before entering for UTME.
Ezeigbo, whose centre is accredited for the examination in the state, decried the poor computer literacy level of most candidates.
He said that many candidates lacked the technical skill to write the examination.
He said: “My technical staff have been going around, assisting those of them that have technical challenge.
“I advise that these candidates should undertake training on how to use computers to write examination.”
He commended JAMB for providing adequate facilities needed for the examination.
Mr Umecheme Ogboso, a JAMB supervisor at the centre, also said that some of the candidates were not familiar with use of the systems.
Ogboso commended JAMB for ensuring that the examination was hitch-free, describing the exercise as the best examination JAMB had ever organised.
He said that the adoption of the CBT helped to eliminate examination malpractice.
NAN reports that there were visible presence of security operatives in most of the centres visited in Umuahia. (NAN)