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No fewer than 184 visually impaired students have registered for the 2016 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination to be conducted later in February.
Clement Ojo, a Senior Administrative Officer of the board, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.
Ojo spoke to NAN on the sideline of a one-day sensitisation exercise for the visually impaired candidates taking place simultaneously across the six geopolitical zones nationwide.
According to him, more than 55 of the candidates, who registered for the examination in Lagos State, are being trained on how to use the new Braille Note Apex machine in preparation for the UTME.
NAN reports that five officials from the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, including Ojo, participated in the demonstration exercise held at the Bethesda Home for the Blind in Lagos.
The candidates are drawn from various schools in Lagos, including four from King’s College Lagos and three from the Federal Government College, Ijanikin in Lagos.
NAN also reports that the use of the Braille Note machine was demonstrated to the registered candidates to acquaint them with it before the examination.
Ojo said the machines were procured to accommodate the visually impaired candidates in the all Computer Based Test platform.
He said the machines would enable the special candidates to read and answer questions via voice or braille, hence making the examination all inclusive for all categories of candidates.
Ojo told NAN that the special candidates have been responding positively to the exercise.
He said: “They have not given us cause to worry.
“We have 20 machines, out of which five were deployed to Lagos centre to prepare the special candidates ahead of the examination.
“The candidates are being taken in a batch of five for effective demonstration and mastery.
“We hope to procure more machines as we progress so that we can accommodate more of the visually impaired candidates in the examination all in one sitting.”
While sharing his experience, Emeka Okeke, a visually impaired SSS 3 student of King’s College, described the exercise as a welcome development.
Okeke said: “The experience is wonderful because to me it is a discovery of something new.
“With this, my confidence for the examination has been boosted a great deal and I thank the organisers for making this possible.”
Chioma Ohakwe, the Proprietress of the Home, also commended JAMB for the gesture.
Ohakwe, however, pleaded with the board to donate one of the machines to the home.
NAN recalls 194 blind students sat for the examination last year, as against 184 so far registered this year.
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