Thirty-three out of the 37 blind candidates that registered for Saturday’s 2014 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Lagos were unable to use braille, a tactile writing system used by the blind and the visually impaired, for the examination, an official has said.
Lagos Coordinator, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Mr. Kalmadeen Oladeji, told the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Lagos that they had to resort to the use of typewriters to enable the candidates write the entrance examination to the university.
Oladeji, who spoke while monitoring the candidates at a special centre for those that registered for the Paper Pencil and Dual Based modes of examination, said: “Rather than using the brailles that have been made available for them for the examination, we are now resorting to typewriters.
“The candidates are unable to use the braille and so we now resort to dictating or reading out the questions to them and then they write the answers using the typewriters.
“This, to a large extent, will make them to lose some vital information that they ought to have gotten if they were to use the brailles.
“Again, it will make the examination cumbersome, because it will now mean we will spend longer hours.”
The JAMB coordinator, however, called on special schools to step up efforts in exposing their students to modern facilities to catch up with the global trend.
He said the special schools should make use of modern facilities to equip their students.
Meanwhile, the Head, Computer Training, Niger Wives Braille Centre, Babatunde Mohammed, has described the development as discouraging.
Mohammed, who is also visually impaired, said there was urgent need for centres taking care of blind students to be focused and carry them along with their normal colleagues.
“These schools must wake up to their responsibilities by doing the right thing and also project into the future.
“Now that JAMB is about introducing the Computer Based Test for its examination, it is only wise that enough sensitisation and exposure is given to the blind students.
“They should be able to have equal opportunities as the normal students, because being impaired does not in any way make them less important or mentally retarded,” he said.