JAMB, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board of Nigeria, announced that biometric verification is required when taking the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). Any candidate without biometric verification will be prevented from attending the exam.
The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) is an exam to test intelligence indicators including critical thinking, problem solving and other high skill sets. Applicants who pass the exam can be eligible for Nigeria’s tertiary education institutions.
As it is a very honorable achievement, some applicants would pay others to assume a fake identity and take the exam on the applicant’s behalf. Because of this, the exam became a common target of abuse.
Dr. Fabian Benjamin, The board’s Head, Media and Information Department, discussed in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria that any candidate who cannot be identified with biometrics verification will be banned from taking the exam.
“We want to clearly state here that any candidate who cannot be identified using biometrics will not be allowed to sit for this examination.”
Administrators were even able to trace some applicants who failed to verify themselves via fingerprint identification. As Dr. Benjamin noted, “So far, over 450,000 candidates have sat for the examination and we have had reported cases where some of the candidates could not be identified as they placed their fingers on the machines for identification.
He also discussed their plan to identify applicants by biometric machines, not any registration numbers or names.
“Candidates sitting for this examination are not to be identified by mere registration numbers or names, but through the machines.”
JAMB is now aware of the leaks that will be resolved with the biometric identification system. Benjamin continued, “This method should be able to call up candidates’ identity and so, there is no way a candidate will just come and mention his name and registration number and be allowed in without going through the right process.”
He expects that biometric technology will help to assure the identity of the applicants and eliminate the impersonation incidents.