DEVELOPMENT OF A UTME (JAMB) REGISTRATION ADVISORY SYSTEM
The prevalent use of advisory systems in diverse business is boosting the productivity of such businesses endeavors. The advisory systems guide the users on the optimal steps to accomplish a task so as to have an optimal result. This is achieved through the use of some sort of smart algorithm (either an optimization algorithm or a knowledge-based expert system) to evaluate the parameters and generate a suggested plan of action for human operators to implement or it is automatically implemented by the system if allowed to do so. There are many examples of such systems in use today.
Therefore, the purpose of an advisory system is to mitigate errors on the part of the user and to improve productivity through accurate and optimal activities carried out. Advisory systems may guide users through an interactive approach, where the user is allowed by the system to “adjust criteria being used by the automation and then have the automation re-generate a solution using the new criteria.” Or the system may employ a less/partial interactive approach, where the criteria are not the issue (Guerlain S. 2002); The user does not need to change the criteria, thus when such changes are required, all intangibles need are to be considered, and the system is redesigned and implemented. That is, designing a system for usability goes in a cycle, design – evaluate – redesign, as an iterative user-centered design procedure (Melissa R. Ho, Andy Dearden, and Matthew Kam, 2009).
This project work titled Development of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination Registration (UTME) Advisory System is an evaluation of the present Electronic Registration Portal (system) administered by the UTME Board, and design of an add-on for the existing system. This add-on, being the focus of this project work employs the partial-interactive approach of user-centered design to help guide candidates during a registration process; this is because the requirements for a given course cannot be determined by the candidate and thus, he/she cannot change the criteria. The focus in the existing system was just on the registration process, where the candidate supplies personal information, passport, and chooses courses and institutions of their choice, not much attention was given to how the candidates chooses a course in terms of meeting the requirements. Because all the requirement that the candidates need is in the hard copy of the (UTME) brochure. Therefore, this project considers the incorporation of brochure into the system to advice candidates during the registration process.
1.2 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
John Dewey once said “Education is the liberation of mankind from the sea of ignorance.” Education (Learning) is at the heart of every nation that has consideration for the future generations since it forms the basis for any technological growth (Zachariah B., 2012). Nigerians realized the importance of education in nation building and legally takes it at the higher degree. This is proven in the establishment of seven Federal Universities in Nigeria by 1974; that was fourteen years after independence. To run these universities effectively, through effective way of admitting students to study in the tertiary institution of their choice; there was the need to establish a regulatory body, and the result was the establishment of an examination board called Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). The board was charged with the responsibility of among other things to control the matriculation examination for admissions into all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria (Alice D., 2008). This of course is a huge and complex task that would require a lot of effort but thanks to information technology.
The invention of computers and subsequently computer networks with continuous research to make them perform better has a great impact on the world in general. Though some people are of the opinion that computers affect the world negatively, arguing that computers may allow people to pirate data for misuse. This is of course true; but we also must not forget the positive impact ability to carry out complex tasks accurately and speedily (Mohan,2010). When we are saddled with such tasks that are complex, we quickly hand them over to the computers and wait to be provide with the desired results.
One of such complex tasks is the need to register and conduct examinations for candidates seeking admission into tertiary institutions of their choice by the JAMB. This responsibility soon became too tasking and the need to employ computers became necessary for effectiveness. Therefore, the manual process of examination registration had to be automated to cushion challenges faced by the Examination Board.
JAMB was established in 1977 by the Federal Military Government of Nigeria to serve as Nigeria’s official entrance examination board for candidates seeking admission to all Universities in the country. Before then, the existing federal universities in the country (numbering seven by 1974) conducted their own ‘concessional’ entrance examinations and admitted students. This system of admission was observed by the government as having limitations and quite often, it wasted a lot of resources in the process of administering the examination especially on the part of the candidates; this is against the policy of any nation seeking growth. The Committee of Vice-Chancellors felt concerned about the general untidiness in the uncoordinated system of admissions into the nation’s universities. The problem of admission into the universities became more acute with the establishment of additional six universities in 1976 by the Federal military government, under the leadership of General Olusegun Obasanjo. According to the Board History, JAMB has made the government to set up a national committee on Universities entrance under the Chairmanship of Mr. M. S. Angulu. The result was the establishment of JAMB in 1977.
The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board according to Decree No 2 of 1978 (amended by Section 5 of Decree 33 of 1989) has the following functions:
Ø To control the matriculation examination for admissions into all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria.
Ø To appoint examiners, moderators, invigilators, members of the subject panels and committees and other persons with respect to Matriculation Examinations and any other matters incidental thereto or connected therewith;
Ø To place suitably qualified candidates in the tertiary institutions;
To effectively discharge this responsibility, the examination board was guided by a number of conditions to determine the suitability of a candidate for a given institution. Therefore, JAMB takes the following conditions into account before placing candidates into the tertiary institutions
Ø vacancy available in each tertiary institution;
Ø The guidelines approved for each tertiary institution by its proprietors or other competent authorities;
Ø The preference expressed or indicated by the candidates for institutions and courses; and
Ø Other matters as the Board may be directed by the Honorable Minister to consider or which the Board itself may consider appropriate in the circumstance.
Additionally, JAMB also undertakes the following duties:
Ø Conducts the Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) and sends the results to Universities chosen by the candidates, so that each university selects and recommends candidates to JAMB for admission.
Ø Allows each university to conduct tests/interview termed screening for candidates (since . . .) before selecting those to recommend;
Ø Conduct similarly, entrance examination for candidate applying to Polytechnics and Colleges of Education;
Ø Admits qualified candidates by Direct Entry to Universities that recommend them;
Ø Allows these institutions that operate Remedial Programs to admit successful candidates, but announced in 2007 that it was cancelling such from 2008.
The Board also collates and disseminates information on all matters relating to admissions into tertiary institutions which is relevant to the discharge of its functions. It also carries out activities that are necessary for the discharge of all or any of the functions conferred on it by the decree establishing it. The Board consists of eight key departments which carry out its day-to-day operations. The departments are:
Office of the Registrar
The office is headed by the Chief Executive who is appointed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Education. The Registrar is responsible for the execution of policy of the Board and the day-to-day running of the affairs of the Board.
The Registrar shall hold office in the first instance for a period of five years and shall be eligible for reappointment for such periods as the president may, from time to time determine.
National Business & Technical Examination Board (NABTEC)
There was an evolutionary process spanning a period of 15 years from 1977 to 1992 in which four Government Commissions were set up at different times by the Federal Government of Nigeria to review the place and structure of Public examinations in the Nigerian Educational System.
Each of these commissions justified the multiplicity of examination bodies, and advocated for a separate body to perform the functions of conducting examination for students offering Business and Technical subjects. The first Commission was the Justice Sogbetun Commission of Enquiry of 1978, set up in response to public outcry on perceived inefficiency and unchecked leakages of public examinations. The second commission was the Angulu Commission which was set up as a result of WAEC’s presentation to the House of Representative Committee on Education in 1981 in which WAEC advocated for the setting up of other Examination Boards in Nigeria “to reduce the burden of WAEC”. The third, was the Okoro Panel set up in 1989 to review the Angulu Report and the Fourth was the Professor Akin Osiyale’s Task Force set up in 1991 “to evolve a strategy to reduce the burden of WAEC and bring about greater efficiency in the conduct of public examinations”.
The National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) was thus established in 1992 to domesticate Craft level examinations which were hitherto conducted by City & Guilds, Pitmans, and Royal Society of Arts all of U.K in accordance with the provisions of the National Policy on Education.
The Board, under Decree 70 of 1993, and other examinations bodies were established. Since its establishment, many findings have supported its existence whether directly or indirectly. Some of these are the findings of the Etsu Nupe Panel (1977). The Shonekan Vision 2010 (1979) Report, and the harmonized Report of the Estu Nupe Panel and Vision 2010 reports. (Adesina, 2005)
The NABTEB was established in order to:
i. Effectively conduct Technical and Business Examinations;
ii. Issue reliable and valid results/certificates with a view to meeting the needs of candidates who wish to use them for both academic progress and employment.
The Board has eight departments and each of the departments is headed by a director. The departments include;
b. Finance and Accounts;
d. Monitoring, Research and Statistics;
e. Personnel Management
f. Test Administration
g. Test Development and
h. Registrar’s Office
Itis responsible for the general administration and the provision/maintenance of essential services and facilities of the Board. It provides secretariat for Management and the Governing Board. It implements the decision of the Governing Board; enforces strict compliance with the Boards policies and manages and maintain essential services.
Finance and Accounts Department
It carries out financial activities assigned to it by the board and does all other financial activities like disbursement of funds, preparing the Board’s Financial Statements, keep from up-to-date financial records and, accounts for pension scheme, payment of wages and salaries to the Board’s staff and controls the Board’s Revenue and Expenditure.
Itis charged with the responsibilities of processing all examinations conducted by NABTEB; make results of Examinations available at the appropriate time; attend to complaints and queries arising from the examinations and manage the NABTEB corporate Website and on-line Result Checking System.
Monitoring, Research and Statistics Department
This Department is charged with the responsibility of monitoring all the field operations of the Board. In addition, it conducts relevant research works for the purpose of moving the Board forward. The department publishes research output, journals, papers and annual reports. It organizes conferences, seminars and workshops. This department provides secretariat for meetings of the Joint Consultative Council on Education (JCCE) and the National Council on Education (NCE). It establishes quality assurance for all the Board’s field activities at all times and disseminates qualitative and quantitative information for quality improvement of the Boards plan and polices.
Test and Administration Department
This department plans for effective and hitch-free administration of the Board’s examinations; it processes entry documents, implements management decisions as regards to the administration of the Board’s examinations. It packages examination materials for the centers, It conducts the Board’s Certificate and National Commission Entrance examinations and also inspects prospective examination centres.
Test Development Department
This department is charged with the responsibility of developing test items for NABTEB examinations through the following means;
i. Pooling together of resources of internal and external professionals in various trades/subjects.
ii. Utilizing the most modern technique in the construction and development of valid, reliable, practicable, credible and secured test items for NABTEB examinations.
The department also provides consultancy services to other organizations in areas of aptitude tests; Vocational Inventory Tests; Industrial Recruitment Aptitude Tests; Industrial establishment feasibility studies and commercial enterprises recruitment interviews.
The department also provides Technical and Vocational Training Services including technical facilities, equipment space allocation and planning.
This Department does general administrative work. It coordinates services with the parent ministry and other agencies.
– It deals with examination policy matters.
– It audits the accounts of the Board.
– It produces vital examination materials.
– It issues statements of results and certificates to candidates.
– It attends to legal matters concerning the Board and its activities, it publicizes the activities of the Board and acts as a link between the Board and the Public.
– It responds to complaints from the candidates.
– It ensures due process in the procurement of goods and services.
– It is clearing centre as well as a liaison office.
NABTEB has its National Headquarters at Ikpoba Hill, Benin City, Edo State, Professor David Awanbor had been the Registrar/Chief Executive of the National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) since July 2002 (Alice D., 2008). The present Regestrar/chief Executive of (NABTEB) is Dr Olatunde Aworanti.
Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board in its quest to discharge its responsibility devised a registration procedure which was manual. The candidates will have to buy the form and fill the form manually and then submit back to the board. This manual process became too tedious and thus the board adopted the electronic registration process which has made the task handy.
User-centered design demands that systems present information in such a way that it is easily understood and unambiguous since every product that is used by someone has a user experience. That is, the way people feel about the design and their pleasure and satisfaction when using it, looking at it, holding it, and opening or closing it (Garrett, 2003).
The JAMB electronic registration portal has been designed to a high standard such that it meets these demands to a certain level; but then the knowledge of interactive design also makes us understand that systems must evolve over time to meet new requirements and for better user experience. Therefore, this project work is an attempt, to make better the JAMB electronic registration portal.
Though the present JAMB electronic registration portal has made life easy for both candidates and the board, some issues have been uncovered relating to usability and satisfaction of the candidates.
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT
During online registration by prospective candidates on the JAMB electronic portal, it is observed that the portal allows for selection of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) subjects, as it displays all subjects that any candidate applying for any course can choose from. That is, somebody registering for a Science course will also have subjects from the Arts as well as Social Science subjects displayed for him/she to choose (just four or three other subjects) in order to sit for the examination. This often allows candidate to choose the wrong subjects combination for their chosen course of study. For example, somebody who wants to register for Computer Science will have subjects like Accounting, Commerce, etc from the social science; and Literature in English, Arabic, etc from the Arts; all displayed for him/she to choose from. This of course is part of the reason why such candidates make mistake in choosing subjects that do not meet the course requirements of the institution of their choice. Therefore, the candidate is left to bear the consequences of not taking time to study the brochure before registering. One of such consequences is that the candidate may be denied admission not because he/she did not pass the examination but because he did not make the right subject combination. Example, our prospective computer science student may not like Mathematics and/or Physics and because there are other subjects like Geography, Economics, Chemistry, etc; he/she chooses Mathematics, Biology, and Economics without Physics. Such a prospective student of course will be denied admission.
Sure, the whole blame should not be on the candidate because other challenges like poverty could be result of the fact that they actually purchase the JAMB registration card very late and are eager to register before the closing date; other factors may also contribute to this challenge.
After observing this problem, this project work proposes a different approach to mitigate the chances of making such mistakes by presenting the candidate with only those subjects relevant to the chosen course of study.
What inspired this project work was the benefit of the internet (networking), web portal development and the concepts underlying the technologies. I have the optimism that the project will afford me the chance to learn and have the better understanding of internet and web portal development.
The modern developments and technological innovations sky-rocketing the world has handle communication throughout the world. It has enhance the opportunity to having access to information, sharing and management of the resources; and also introduces research in various institutions and other research centers. Therefore, this project work takes advantage of these capabilities so as to improve the rate at which UTME candidates gain admissions into tertiary institutions by helping them minimize the chances of making mistakes.
1.5 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
The main objective of this project work is to propose the incorporation of new approach to how UTME subjects are displayed to the candidate on the UTME electronic registration portal so as to reduce the chances of mistakes (selecting subjects that are not required by their proposed course of study) on the part of the candidates during registration.
Therefore, the project aims at:
Ø Designing web pages on the portal for the administrator to allow for addition of courses alongside their requirements, necessary UTME subjects, other UTME subjects (in cases where the candidate may have to choose from the list that is required as it is often stated in the brochure: “and …in Science | Social Science | Art subjects”, and the direct entry remark for that for the institution.
Ø Redesigning a web page of the portal which as usual allows candidates to register institutions and courses of their choice. When a candidate chooses an institution, the list of courses offered in that institution are displayed, when he/she select a course of study then the University Matriculation Examination requirement for such a course is displayed alongside the direct entry remark for that institution and course.
Ø Designing a web page on the portal that displays the necessary UTME subjects as registered as well as restricting modifications (deselecting) of such necessary UTME subjects; and other UTME subjects if the necessary UTME subjects are not up to the four required subjects.
Ø Designing other web pages to help demonstrate the proposed add-on on the portal.
1.6 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Most of the prospective candidates of the tertiary institutions are becoming frustrated for the fact that securing admission into their interested institutions to study the courses they have passion for is becoming more and more challenging. This is not necessarily because they are not brilliant, they often pass the UTME minimum required point; the problem is not also from the institutions, neither is the problem from JAMB – UTME itself. The problem is often on the part of the candidates that makes the wrong choice of UTME subject for their chosen course of study. They must not be allowed to continually make same mistake since most of them often do not learn from such; and when they become too frustrated, some often give-up their passion for schooling which does not only affect them but also the nation and the world at large.
This project work is very significant since reducing the chances of such mistakes implies the improvement of the chances of candidates securing admission which has direct positive impact on the nation and the world at large. Therefore, this project work is dedicated to seeing how such implementations can be achieved.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
This project work tries to design web pages that have the look and feel of the existing portal but concentrates more on achieving its set objectives. Therefore, it is not a full implementation of the UTME registration portal but a subset to illustrate how the modifications can be done to help the candidates during registration.
This project work simulated significant web pages of the standard UTME registration portal but does not incorporate the use of biometrics as provided by the standard UTME portal. The web pages developed were tested on a local host WAMP Server using Mozilla Firefox and have been found to work correctly as intended.
1.8 STRUCTURE OF PROJECT
This project work consists of five chapters that proceeds as follows:
Ø Chapter one provides the introduction/background of study, problem statement, aims and objectives, significance of study and scope and limitations.
Ø Chapter two provides literature review and related work on web portals and human computer interface concepts.
Ø Chapter three provides the
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