Nigeria’s college admissions authority is using biometrics to confirm the identities of students taking the critical Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.
Administrated by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (or JAMB), the UTME is meant to assess intelligence indicators like problem solving and critical thinking skills, and represents a high-stakes test for students seeking to gain entrance to Nigeria’s tertiary education institutions. As such, it’s a ripe target for abuse, with some students seeking to have impostors write the test in their stead.
Accordingly, authorities are now using fingerprint recognition to confirm students’ identities. Exam candidates’ fingerprint data, along with photographs, were captured at the time of registration, and in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, JAMB Media and Information Department Head Dr. Fabian Benjamin suggested that there was no reason any legitimate candidate should fail to authenticate in this way. “This method should be able to call up candidates’ identity and so, there is no way a candidate will just come and mention his name and registration number and be allowed in without going through the right process,” he said.
This isn’t the first such application of biometric identification. Last spring in China, for example, authorities used both fingerprint and facial recognition to authenticate students taking the country’s “gaokao” university entrance exams. And with biometrics offering a powerful new safeguard for the fairness of such standardized examination systems, more examples are likely to follow in the wake of JAMB and the UTME.
March 12, 2018 – by Alex Perala