364 Blind Candidates To Write 2023 UTME For Admission Into Tertiary Institutions
Three and sixty four (364) blind candidates have been registered to write the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
They will write the examination in 11 centres prepared for the visually impaired candidates to be supervised by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) equal opportunity group.
The group Chairman, Professor Peter Okebukola, who announced this commended JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede for the initiative.
According to him, 2,600 candidates had participated in the UTME since the programme started 1n 2017, with over a third of them gaining admission into universities to study subjects of their choice.
Giving the breakdown, Okebukola said out of 390 blind candidates who wrote the examination in 2019, 175 were given admission, 89 out of 351 in 2020 and 110 out of 332 who wrote UTME in 2021.
Also in 2022, 139 out of 364 blind candidates who wrote the UTME gained admission with five obtaining 270 and above marks, 92 score 200 and above in the examination.
The statement reads, “There are exciting times ahead for blind candidates and others with disabilities in the realisation of the dream of Professor Is-had Oloyede for equal opportunity.”
While giving further insight, Okebukola said: “So far, a good number of blind candidates processed through JEOG have secured admission to federal, state and private universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
“In 2019, of the 390 candidates, a total of 175 (44.8%) were given admission. This was unprecedented in the history of admission of such a category of students into the Nigerian higher education system, another of Professor Oloyede’s golden legacies.
“In 2020, 89 of the 351 blind candidates (25%) that sat for the UTME. In 2021, a total of 110 blind candidates were given admission, out of the 332 that sat for the UTME. This 33% admission of blind candidates to higher education in an annual cohort is unprecedented in the African higher education system.
“In 2022, 139 candidates out of the 364 candidates that took the UTME (38%) were admitted to the higher education institution of their choice.
“Five of the blind candidates scored above 270 in the 2022 UTME. Ninety-two scored above 200. When compared proportionally with the non-blind candidates, the blind candidates are doing as well, if not better than the visually unimpaired candidates.
“The 2023 exercise is taking place in 11 centres nationwide. This is in the interest of bringing the venue of the examination closer to the candidates, especially with the security situation in the country.
“The centres are coordinated by seasoned academics and university administrators. The total number of candidates is 364,” he stated.
He added that JEOG is already implementing a strategic plan of gradually increasing the ICT component of the administration of the UTME to match the improvement in ICT usage for the education of the blind in the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
He said, “The Group is excited about candidates, though few, who offer science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects since this is an important slant to equal opportunity.
“A study has been underway since 2018 to explore ways of encouraging many blind candidates to study STEM subjects recognising the inclement conditions for the study of science by blind candidates at the secondary and post-secondary levels.
“Through the kindness of Professor Is-haq Oloyede, JAMB takes full responsibility for hotel accommodation and feeding of the candidates in the 11 centres and pays generous transport supplementation while providing them with a conducive environment to write the examination.
“Additionally, each blind candidate receives the very precious tools of slate and stylus from JAMB that will be used during the course of study, when admitted to a tertiary institution.
“JEOG is hoping to propose to JAMB, the institution of awards for the top three tertiary institutions with the highest number of candidates with disabilities that are admitted in a given year.
“We are happy to report that JAMB has approved, within the framework of Agenda 2063 and SDG 4, to host biennial (every two years) Africa Regional Conference on Equal Opportunities in Higher Education starting from 2024 to be chaired by Professor Is-haq Oloyede and with all 55 African countries participating.
“A national conference on the same theme has also been approved by Professor Oloyede and the JAMB Management to hold in September 2023”.