Opinion: Trial and Error

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By: Martin-Rita Adebayo

The University community is a major place where models of initiatives were expected to be developed through cross fertilisation of ideas, but the reverse is the case in this part of the world (Nigeria). The redundancy in knowledge, practical things and formulation of ideas are yet to be fully grasped, rather, our institution of learning still cling to the archaic and bureaucratic structure of doing things.

One is forced to ask, “what’s ‘first and pride’ in a citadel of learning that has continued to compound woes and frustration on its students?” Where’s the essence of learning and cultivating exposure to a sound education when concerted efforts continue to be dashed? The University of Lagos adopted both online and physical mode of conducting first semester examinations for her students, the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic has made it for humans to stay far apart. Initially, this is meant to be a new way of life. Although, human society is just gradually coming up to the reality of this. Consequently, this means virtualisation through the internet will be the new way of life. When it comes to antecedents of being the first University in Nigeria to go computerised fully about filling of course form, election, hostel balloting and lots, the University of Lagos indeed delivered in this regard depending on who you ask. Since precedents of server jam packed on specific days of elections and hostel balloting put many students to be uneasy about the new system.

University of Lagos introduced LMS (Learning Medium System) as a new mode of teaching and instruction for students. It was even further put out that examinations would be conducted through this teaching platform. This was a decision reached in a haste which was later retracted to include year 3 to 5 students. One is left wondering whether the management’s move to make students sign indemnity forms was an attempt to absorb them in case there’s a record of the virus or students contracted it. There may be success recorded about the physical exams, but the end is yet to come for the online counterparts in year one and the ones in their sophomore years. There have been a lot of complaints about the platform logging them out, incomplete questions, unable to access the platform and there about.

These complaints have left many students in the limbo with no definite response. The bureaucracy structure which is the hallmark of delaying and taking quick steps has continued to give many students sleepless nights of not having a carry over. Students leaders were seen running from pillar to post just in solidarity with their colleagues is worrisome. Nigeria’s system is founded on trial and error which bears out the consequences on her subjects. This is, to say the least, an unethical and substandard move. Many students in the faculty of Arts are left stranded at no one’s mercy to fine tuned their case. No one is responding to them. Are we going to leave them and allow them to carry a course over which is none of their fault. This is not right. A system can be faulty and bad, but there should be remedy to it and a way to fix up. No students deserve to pay the consequences of a bad system.

There is the need for the school management to investigate issues of incomplete virtual exams on a case by case basis instead of giving this responsibility wholly to departments and faculties. It is the duty of the Quality Assurance team to evaluate the just concluded examination and give objective and humane recommendations to the school management through the Academic Affairs and all necessary divisions. Like I’ve said earlier, I hope help comes to the affected students and also strongly hope that the school management would come to their yearnings and aspirations of rescheduling either a physical or still an online exams through a close supervision for them.

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