Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited, a Microsoft Gold Partner, played a major role in the success recorded at this year’s UTME Examinations organised by the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB).
The company designed the e-Registration System which enabled candidates to register for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) online. In addition to ensuring seamless registration, the process also guaranteed more efficient record keeping, eradication of the trauma associated with manual registration and widespread exam malpractices resulting from poor monitoring.
The e-Registration system was developed on the Microsoft Visual Studio.Net and the SQL Server 2008 platforms. This engine captured candidates’ bio-data, UTME Subjects, First and Second choices of Institution and Course, O/Level subjects and grades, Examination Town, passport photograph and biometric (fingerprint) data.
In addition, the system offered step by step instructions on how to fill the form online. With a simplified online brochure, candidates were presented with a variety of courses and institutions to choose from, taking into consideration their preferred catchment areas. Toting up, the system provided information to JAMB on the candidates for the UTME, and it also presented reports to JAMB on the management of the examinations.
According to Mr. Mike Olajide, Managing Director, Sidmach Technologies, “About 1,503,931 candidates sat for this year’s UTME and what our system did was capture and validate all the applicants’ information which was stored in a Microsoft SQL Server database. An outstanding advantage of this solution is that it ensured trusted, productive, and intelligent data platform that provided excellent encryption which guarded against tampering.”
Underscoring the eradication of the trauma associated with manual registration which included the strain of having to queue endlessly to snap passport photographs for attachment to examination forms, making tons of photocopies to balance out form filling etc, Mr. Olajide explained that the process is now flawless and has encouraged more candidates to apply. Overall, there was a marginal increase of 10,338 candidates over the 2011 figure.
According to him, “Candidates can now sit in the comfort of their homes and complete their registration process with ease. Furthermore, the method has given fillip to internet usage and IT penetration and development. In the not too distant past, very few secondary school leavers had knowledge of computer use but with this new development of online registration, it means Nigeria is fast developing and integrating its youth in the area of Information technology.
Olajide added, “After conquering the fear associated with technology by successfully filling their forms, most of these candidates go on to explore the computer and enjoy its many other benefits.”
The modality of the project included the provision of Fingerprint Scanners and laptops running Microsoft Windows 7 for the verification and attendance marking of candidates for the UTME. The Verification system was also developed using Microsoft tools.
Executed under the Public-Private-Project Implementation model, it means that JAMB did not have to lay out the huge investment to implement the UTME e-Registration immediately. In addition to the value provided by this project, Jamb did not have to increase the examination fees.
Commending Sidmach Technologies on the successful implementation of the project, Abiola Ajayi, Partner Account Manager, Microsoft Nigeria said, “We are thrilled with the performance of Sidmach Technologies, especially the advancement the company is making in public sector capacity building using Microsoft platform”.
Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, Registrar/CEO of JAMB, disclosed that the introduction of the Bio-Metric Thumb printing capturing, which was introduced in the 2011 UTME has been a subject of wide discourse; some positive, while others negative, adding however that to the body, it has recorded more successes than draw backs as the system in many centres ensured candidates were orderly and peaceful.
Reiterating the board’s determination to conduct a better exam than what obtained in the past, The JAMB boss explained that the biometric fingerprint machine had been improved upon to deliver quality service.
In his words, “In this year’s examination, the Biometric machines that were deployed were technically superior and faster. It took only about a second to get the machine to validate using candidate’s details.”
Ojerinde further pointed out that JAMB has achieved a drastic reduction in the incidence of incomplete results to 28,069.
According to him, “This figure although is a remarkable reduction in the previous one, it still remains high.” He noted that it is the hope of the Board to wish away totally, all incidences of incomplete results in our future examinations.
Overall, there has been a significant turnaround time with examination results released in less than one week.