577 Blind Candidates to Sit 2024 UTME Nationwide

Emeritus Professor Peter Okebukola, Chairman of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board's Equal Opportunity Group, disclosed this information

At least 577 blind candidates will participate in the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) across 11 centers nationwide.

Emeritus Professor Peter Okebukola, Chairman of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board’s Equal Opportunity Group, disclosed this information during a press briefing about the upcoming UTME for blind candidates and other individuals with special needs.

The JAMB Equal Opportunity Group was established in 2017 by Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, the Registrar of JAMB, to specifically cater to the needs of these candidates.

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 decision to accommodate blind candidates in the UTME is not merely an act of benevolence but a recognition of their right to education and the pursuit of academic excellence. It reflects a broader societal shift towards embracing diversity and dismantling barriers that have long hindered the full participation of marginalized groups in educational and professional spheres.

One cannot understate the significance of this development for blind individuals aspiring to pursue higher education. For far too long, the educational landscape has been rife with obstacles that have impeded their progress and limited their opportunities for advancement. By providing a platform for blind candidates to showcase their knowledge and abilities on an equal footing with their sighted peers, the UTME not only opens doors to higher education but also fosters a culture of inclusivity and respect for diversity.

The participation of blind candidates in the UTME also underscores the importance of leveraging technology to promote accessibility and enhance learning experiences. With advancements in assistive technologies such as screen readers and braille displays, blind individuals can navigate educational materials and assessments with greater ease and independence. By embracing these technological innovations, educational institutions can create more inclusive learning environments that cater to the diverse needs of students with disabilities.

However, while the inclusion of blind candidates in the UTME represents a significant step forward, it also brings to light the broader challenges faced by individuals with disabilities in accessing quality education. Despite progress in promoting inclusivity, many barriers persist, ranging from inadequate infrastructure to societal attitudes that perpetuate stigma and discrimination.

Addressing these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach that encompasses policy reforms, infrastructure improvements, and awareness campaigns aimed at promoting disability rights and inclusion. Educational authorities must continue to work closely with disability advocacy groups and stakeholders to ensure that the needs of individuals with disabilities are adequately met and that no one is left behind in the pursuit of education.


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