The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) said on Tuesday it had opened 46 new examination centres nationwide.
The number brings to 246, such centres opened in the last two weeks ahead of the 2013 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
Mr Fabian Benjamin, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the board, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that with the new ones, 3,000 centres were now in place for the smooth conduct of the examination slated for April.
NAN reports that more than 1.6 million candidates applied to sit for the examination, 90,000 of whom would be tested with the newly-introduced Computer-based Test and Dual-based Test.
According to JAMB, the number of applicants in this year’s examination is higher than the 1.4 million figure of 2012.
The sale of the forms closed on Friday.
Also on Tuesday, the board said contrary to some reports, it did not impose examination centres on candidates or nominate for them during registration for its examinations.
This is contained in a statement signed by Benjamin in Lagos.
“We wish to state unequivocally that the board does not impose examination centres or towns on candidates at the point of registration.” the statement said.
It said that examination towns and centres were displayed at the point of uploading the candidate’s details, during which the applicant was allowed to choose an examination town so desired.
It explained that the board only assigned centres within the towns the candidates chose, each of which could take a maximum of 540 candidates.
According to the statement, the number of centres for the forthcoming 2013 UTME in Lagos and other states for Paper and Pencil Test have been increased.
It said that Lagos State alone had 450 centres for the paper test, indicating a 20 per cent increase over 2012 figure.
The statement said that though the board was not insensitive to some of the complaints by candidates of their centres being far from their areas of residence, it would not be pressurised to use unfit centres.
It noted that such centres, also referred to as “special centres'', were usually used for examination malpractice and other unethical behaviours.
The statement said the computer test policy, which was approved by the Federal Government, would not reduce the number of centres used for the conduct of the examination.
It said rather it had created opportunity for a reasonable percentage of candidates who would have gone outside their places of residence, to now write the examination within their towns.
The statement said the computer test, which was an internationally accepted best practice for the conduct of examinations, was already being practised by some universities in their Post-UTME.
It said the test would reduce examination malpractice to the barest minimum, enhance prompt delivery of scores and help to restore confidence in public examinations, as it would reflect the true ability of candidates.
The statement also explained that the Prof. Dibu Ojerinde-led management of the board, had over time, reduced the number of results cancelled or withheld, with the introduction of innovations like the bio-metric data capturing.