The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the body in charge of admissions into Nigeria’s institutions of higher learning, has announced that from 2013, it will begin using computer-based tests (CBT) instead of the regular paper examinations to screen candidates seeking admission into the country’s colleges, the board’s executive registrar Prof. Dibu Ojerinde has said.
Following the announcement, there has been mixed reactions from stakeholders in the education sector. According to Nigeria’s minister of education, Prof Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, CBT represents an important aspect of the future of certification programmes since it allows a fairer and more precise candidate’s competency evaluation.
It also rapidly reduces the turnaround time for obtaining results and gives the candidates more choice of when and where to take the examination.
The minister stated that an objective of the CBT is to enable the education ministry to eliminate malpractices which she said is the major challenge militating against the conduct of public examinations in Nigeria.
Expressing his support for the initiative, Prof Adeyemi Isaac, the Vice-Chancellor, Bells University, Ota, Ogun state hailed the introduction of CBT in the nation’s education sector.p>
“We are in the era of technology where students are expected to be information communication technology-compliant. [But] do we have what it takes nationwide to operate it across board, or do we have to experiment it with selected few in some states?” he said.
However, he noted that the national transition from paper exams to CBT is capital intensive and the bodies need to consider the issue of electricity by providing alternative means of powering the computers. He also raised the issue of computer literacy among Nigerian students.
“How many of those students can access the computer? Even when they are taught theory in class, how many of them have computer for practice,” he asked.
He however discredited the education minister’s assertions that the technology would eradicate examination practice stating that corrupt data-base contractors could be bought over by unscrupulous students who are desperate to pass the CBT.