JAMB To Employ Braille Technology For Visually Impaired Candidates.

The Equal Opportunity Group of JAMB says the board is moving gradually to using prototype of a braille-based technology for the conduct of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for visually impaired candidates.
A cross-section of students writing the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) [thenationonlineng]
A cross-section of students writing the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) [thenationonlineng]
Prof. Peter Okebukola, Chairman of the group, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
NAN reports that a total of 354 visually impaired candidates sat for the UTME in 12 centres across the country on March 22.

The exercise was concluded on Sunday in response to the closure order of schools by the Federal Government as precautionary measures against the Coronavirus disease.

According to Okebukola, the board is working hard in ensuring that these category of candidates are given a level playing field like their sighted counterparts.

”We are moving steadily to using the prototype, which in the near future, will allow the visually challenged and universities they are aspiring to attend develop capacities for such technologies.

”Let me state clearly that the board’s Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, is far-sighted and encouraging relevant stakeholders to move in this direction,” he said.

He said the board’s Registrar had approved the tripling of number of centres for the conduct of this year’s UTME for the visually impaired candidates from four used in 2019 to 12.

Okebukola, a former National Universities Commission (NUC) boss, said that this was in a bid to limit the number of candidates that would congregate at a time.

He had, in a statement, noted that the JAMB initiative had been cited several years back in many countries as a good model for Africa.

Okebukola also said that so far, a respectable number of blind candidates processed through the JAMB Equal Opportunity Group (JEOG), have secured admission to Federal, State and Private Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.

According by him, in 2019, of the 390 candidates that sat for the examination, a total of 175, representing 44.8 per cent were given placements in various tertiary institutions across the country.

”Most of these challenged candidates were admitted to the University of Lagos; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; University of Nigeria,Nsukka; University of Abuja and Bayero University, Kano, among others.

”JAMB is expressing deep appreciation to the Vice-Chancellors of these universities.

”The goal of the Oloyede-led JAMB is to ensure that no Nigerian, who is eligible, is prevented from taking the UTME regardless of disability,” he said.

Meanwhile the Proprietress, Bethesda Home for the Blind, Mushin, Mrs Chioma Ohakwe, also lauded the efforts of JAMB in ensuring a future for the challenged candidates.

According to her, such gesture needs to be emulated by well meaning individuals and corporate organisations.

”Having said this, however, I think a lot still need to be done by the board, and this is in the area of ensuring that the use of this braille technology is introduced as soon as possible.

”This technology to the best of my knowledge is the way to go in a bid to eliminate third party and increase speed when answering the questions.

”I registered 25 candidates this year; 18 of them wrote in Lagos, while two also wrote in Enugu and five in Imo.

”From past experience, these candidates have complained that the dictation slows them down and other times, could not get the pronunciations well.

”I am convinced that writing the examination with the braille machines by themselves unaided, will indeed improve their performance,” she said.

Ohakwe said that she was looking forward to an improvement on the level of performance by her candidates for this year’s examination, as against the one posted in 2019.

”In 2019, the highest score posted by one of the visually impaired candidates of this home was 285, with the least being 215.

”This year, we expect a better performance as we prepared them well,” she said.

About Peter Okiokpa

Electronics Engineer. Digital Entrepreneur. Blogger. Writer. Christlike.😇

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