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577 blind candidates to sit 2024 UTME nationwide

No fewer than 577 blind candidates are set to take the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination UTME in 11 centres nationwide.
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No fewer than 577 blind candidates are set to take the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination UTME in 11 centres nationwide.

Chairman of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board Equal Opportunity Group, Emeritus Professor Peter Okebukola made this known on Thursday while addressing newsmen in preparation for the 2024 UTME for blind candidates and others with special needs assigned to JEOG.

Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede set up the JAMB Equal Opportunity Group in 2017 for the effective handling of the blind candidates and others with special needs.

According to Okebukola, “This year and for the first time, JAMB, through JEOG, will implement the bimodal system of UTME administration.

“This involves Fully-Braille and Fully Read-Aloud. Candidates have a choice of mode. JEOG has been resourced by JAMB to make the experience of the two modes of test administration pleasant for the candidates.

“With a total of 577 blind candidates, the 2024 UTME presents the highest number. We had 348 in 2022, and 313 in 2023. The 2024 increase is largely due to increased advocacy by JEOG, a process which will be bolstered in the coming years,” he said.

Okebukola who is also the President of the Global University Network for Innovation, described Oloyede, as one of the strongest pillars of equal opportunity of access to higher education in Africa.

He said, “In the last four days, I have conferred with members of GUNi-Africa on how blind candidates aspiring for higher education in Africa are treated in their countries and all are in agreement that Nigeria, through Oloyede, stands clearly out as the best.”

Okebukola noted that “This year, all blind candidates who are prima facie qualified for admission to institutions of higher learning in Nigeria (that is with at least five O-level credits) will have the cost of their UTME registration refunded on-site during the examination.”

The former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission said the other five “goodies” that Oloyede had been showering on the candidates since 2017 were free hotel accommodation for the blind candidates and their guides, free Braille slate and stylus, customised t-shirts; free meals through the examination period and transport supplementation for the blind candidates and their guides.

“No other African country comes near offering such kind gestures,” he said.

Okebukola said, “This is why I have nominated Oloyede for the CNN Heroes Award. We are mobilising the whole of Africa to support the nomination for 2024 and we will not stop nominating him until God makes it possible for him to be conferred with the award which he very much deserves.”

On the distribution of the candidates and the centre coordinators many of whom are former Vice-Chancellors, Okebukola noted that “Kano has the highest number of 138 with Prof. Muhammad Bello, former Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University as Coordinator.

“This is followed by Lagos with 88 candidates with Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun, former VC of LASU as coordinator. Others are Abuja (60)- Prof. Sunday Ododo; Ado-Ekiti (37)- Prof. Rasheed Aderinoye, former Executive Secretary, National Commission for Nomadic Education; Bauchi (44)- Prof. Salisu Shehu current VC of Al-Istiqama University, Sumaila, Kano; Benin (26)- Prof. Samuel G. Odewumi; Enugu (66)- Prof. Emeritus Mosto Onuoha (former DVC Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufo-Alike; Kebbi (21)- Prof. Asabe Kabir; Oyo (57)- Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, former Minister of Sports and Special Duties; Jos (24)- Prof. Nasiru Maiturare, former VC of IBB University; and Yola (16)- Prof. Muhammad Yakasai, VC, Sule Lamido University, Kafin Hausa.

He noted that the examination has been scheduled for April 22 and 23 in the eleven centres and involved 20 subjects.

He explained that blind candidates took the same test papers as the regular candidates and standards were not lowered in any form.

Meanwhile, JAMB has directed all Computer-Based Test centre owners to arrest any parent, who is found near any of their facilities during the 2024 UTME exercise.

The directive was issued at the final briefing of the Computer-Based Test centre owners, which was held virtually on Wednesday, 17th April 2024 a transcript of which was obtained by our correspondent on Thursday in Abuja.

The board said the directive became necessary following the intrusive disposition of some parents during the Board’s previous exercises.
According to Oloyede, any parent, who disobeys this order, will not only be arrested but his ward will also be disqualified from sitting the examination.

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