The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, under its JAMB Equal Opportunity Group, JEOG, on Wednesday, conducted the 2021 unified tertiary matriculation examination, UTME, for 335 visually-impaired persons across 11 centres in Nigeria.
Chairman, JEOG, Professor Peter Okebukola and Coordinator, Lagos and Ogun states centres, explained that since the inception of the programme in 2017, over 1,680 candidates have been processed for the UTME with over a third admitted to courses of their choice in higher institutions in the country.
According to the former secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, “This JAMB initiative has been cited in the several countries as a good model for Africa.
“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;
“While in 2019, of the 390 candidates, a total of 175(44.8%) gained admission; this was unprecedented in the history of admission of such category of students into Nigerian higher education system, and in 2020, 89 of the 351 blind candidates (25%) also gained admission into various instituons.
“The encouraging development, since 2020, is that more degree-awarding institutions are showing keen interest in admitting suitable qualified blind students.
“The exercise taking place across 11 centres nationwide: Abuja, Ado-Ekiti, Bauchi, Benin, Enugu, Jos, Kano, Kebbi, Lagos, Oyo and Yola.
“Also, JAMB takes full responsibility for hotel, feeding and transportation of all the candidates in the centres.
“We are also grateful to Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, the JAMB Registrar for approving the presentation of a set of slate and stylus to each candidate at the end of the examination to serve as Braille note taking tools, when they finally get admitted to higher institutions,” Prof. Okebukola explained.
Expressing delight over this year’s conduct of UTME at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Lagos and Ogun Centres, a 23-year-old visually-impaired candidate, Obi Frances, an indigene of Anambra State based in Lagos, stated that this year’s exercise was great.
His words: “Seeing people like me doing well in life motivated me to take this year’s JAMB.
“I want to study at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Unizik, to become a presenter or broadcaster or even a journalist.
“Since I lost my sight while growing up, my greatest challenge is getting assistance.
“However, this is my first JAMB. I am very happy taking my first paper, English language.
“I thank the organisers of this programme for their care and welfare. They promised to give us stipend for our transportation back home and instruments like Stylist to use for my university education.”
Another student, Adesesan Adesewa, 25, said that she felt happy undergoing the process that will make her attain her dream of becoming an educator.
“I am an indigene of Ogun State based in Lagos. I became blind in 2010/201.
“This is my second JAMB. My dream is to study English Education,” Adesewa noted.