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CBT exam exposes poor computer education in schools

Posted: May 20, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Oyeniran Apata  –  Correspondent, Lagos


As the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) continues to grapple with challenge of logistics and technology in the computer Based Test (CBT), the new examination mode has exposed the flaws in computer education as thoughts in schools.

It will be recalled that the board had in 2012 announced that the options of the Paper-Pencil Test (PPT) and the Dual-Based Test (DBT) will be phased out in three years and replaced by the CBT.

As a result, JAMB in 2014, organized a test-run of the CBT, which was adjudged by many as successful and capable of putting an end to malpractices that had characterized the conduct of public examinations in the country.

However, the outright adoption of the CBT mode in the ongoing exercise has exposed lapses in the content of computer education as thought both in public and private schools in the country.

Keen watchers of events have lamented that in this modern age of Information Communication Technology (ICT), some of the candidates in the CBT examination encountered problems with effectively manipulating the computer system.

Apparently envisaging such shortcomings in respect of students’ ability to use computer systems for the examination, JAMB had thrown open its pre-exam trial portal for candidates to take mock test before the commencement of the CBT.

Reacting to the reported challenges on the ongoing JAMB CBT, Deputy Director, Distance Learning Centre (DLC), University of Ibadan (UI), Prof Olusoji Aremu, said the problems are expected.

According to him, “the main issue is that two components of assessment are being done: pedagogy on various subjects and skills on technology which the Computer-based Test represents”.

He added that, “While the outcome measures (performance) would be on how much (quantity) of the subjects a candidate knows, not much emphasis is on the mechanism (computer education which is skill-based) through which assessment would be made.  What accounts for this is obvious.”

He lamented that the Computer Education Curriculum’s emphasis is on pedagogy and not on skills acquisition.

Prof Aremu contended that in situations where learners would want to acquire computer education skills and instructors are willing to teach, the challenges of infrastructure in many public and private schools are enormous.

“There are no computer laboratories, no electricity, and many JAMB candidates have never seen computer systems prior to the examination talk less of handling it.

“While these are constant, instructors continue to teach the candidates on the pedagogies of subjects they want to be examined on but not on the skills that will drive the pedagogy for desired results.

He stressed that the above scenario calls for a review of Computer Education Curriculum.

In his words, “The curriculum should be skills-based and driven. More importantly, functional and up-to-date computer laboratories ?should be a must in public and private schools.

“There should also be alternate power system on ground. These appear to be utopian ideals given the parlous state of most public secondary schools in Nigeria,” he added.

Speaking further, he noted that improving the situation calls for private sector-driven CBT centres and recommended that public and private schools could take their students to such centres periodically to acquire computer proficiency skills.

Opposed to suggestions for JAMB to rethink its CBT policy, Prof Aremu, however, recommended that JAMB should intensify its advocacy on the appropriateness of CBT as? a modern way of testing in the 21st century.

A candidate at one of the centres confessed to Daily Independent that making use of computer system for examination goes beyond ability to manipulate android phones.