Who is using whom? Who are the victims, who are the perpetrators? In any case, we’ve heard it all; most of us have heard it all: teacher-student relationships that now and again lead to pregnancy and other scandals. Teachers exchanging or demanding sex for better class grade and other favors. Teachers selling or exchanging higher score for other remunerations. Teachers pimping students and or fellow teachers for financial and non-financial gains. Teachers selling handouts and other documents to supplement their income. The list goes on and on and on and on. It is a mess, an epidemic. But sadly, these are some of the realities in our institutions of higher learning.
Beyond these dissolute behaviors are the academic scandals: plagiarism, examination misconducts and falsification of data by students and teachers. Cheating, plagiarism and falsification of data has always been a part of the academia, but in recent years such infringements have taken a different meaning and dimension. For instance, there are professional exam takers, professional interviewees, and the “exchange students.” For a fee, a designate can write your exam, attend your interviews, and even attend classes for you. You need not be a real student. There are people ready to do the work for you if you have the money.
No one I know knows whether there have been studies done on the effect of these transgressions; or, how these breaches impact the educational system. Even so, these practices and transgressions cannot be good for the country’s culture and educational landscape. These injuries cannot be wiped out, but they can be minimized. Fortunately, the aforementioned contagions are limited to some teachers and departments. It is here noted that Nigeria has had a glorious history of academic excellence, and has over the years, been blessed with men and women of high moral and ethical standard — men and women whose mission was to engage in research, contribute to knowledge, educate, inform and shape young minds. All these they did!
Something else: if you’ve ever attempted to secure academic transcripts from any Nigerian university, or from other institutions of higher learning, you must know how difficult and frustrating it can be. And in fact, such difficult experiences are not limited to schools. Procuring medical records or any government manuscript can also be an uphill task. Although securing documents and transcripts may be easier if you live in
Oversea-Nigerians who have attempted to secure school transcripts — without an insider to help — have a tome of woes to tell. A few days ago, a friend called to inquire if I have friends or relatives in
Fortunately, this friend of mine was able to have his transcript sent after his friends and relatives, living in
Aside from the official fee to be paid to the school, facilitators within the school system would also need to be paid or greased. Moreover, friends and relatives who spent their time going back and forth must also be compensated. Transcript (and postage) that ordinarily should cost no more than $35 may end up costing the supplicant upward of $200. You can’t even quantify the cost of time spent, along with the stress and other incalculable resources. And indeed, there is no guarantee that the requested documents will arrive, or arrive in a timely fashion.
For over a year now, a casual female friend living in the
One of the unintended consequences of these difficulties is that some Nigerians have taken to forging official records. Forging documents is a crime; but it is even more criminal and malicious when an institution refuses to, or intentionally delays sending supporting documents to enable one “go on with ones life.” Procuring official school documents shouldn’t be that difficult. It shouldn’t be. If schools want to increase the fee for such services, well then, they should go ahead. But for goodness sake, they should fulfill their obligation to their former students.