After posing as a candidate in the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) on Facebook, Deborah Tolu-Kolawole uncovered a syndicate preying on UTME and West African Senior School Certificate Examination candidates seeking “result upgrades.” This exploitation plays on the desperation for high scores to secure admission into coveted courses like medicine, law, and engineering.
In a country where a low UTME or West African Senior School Certificate Examination score can shatter academic aspirations, the demand for admission into tertiary institutions, particularly universities, has become intense. The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) announced during its 2023 policy meeting that a staggering number of candidates, 452,443, indicated interest in the 78,578 admission quotas for medicine alone, exacerbating the competition for limited spots.
Candidates resort to various forms of examination malpractice, including seeking help from schools, individuals, and online syndicates to manipulate their results. JAMB’s efforts to combat impersonation have led to new methods of result manipulation. For instance, candidates have been known to fabricate higher scores by using counterfeit results, manipulated text messages from JAMB, and even enlisting the help of online syndicates to alter their outcomes.
The article details instances where individuals have claimed significantly improved results through manipulation, only to be exposed when verification revealed the discrepancies. The exposé also dives into the online syndicates that lure candidates on platforms like Facebook, offering result upgrade services for fees ranging from N10,000 to N20,000. These individuals often use software like Adobe Photoshop to doctor existing results to reflect higher scores, providing victims with seemingly authentic documents.
Despite efforts by JAMB to prevent these manipulations, the article uncovers that these syndicates continue to thrive. Some even create applications available on platforms like Google Play Store that generate fake JAMB results, adding to the complexity of the issue. Additionally, the article includes expert commentary on the sociocultural factors driving such practices, emphasizing the need for vigilance, proper guidance, and ethical behavior in the pursuit of academic success.