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 government documents can also be an uphill task. Although securing documents and transcripts may be easier if you live in Nigeria; attempting to do so from abroad can be annoying, traumatic and time consuming. I am inclined to believe that it is easier to rob a bank than to secure transcripts and other official documents.
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 Ilorin, Kwara State. He wanted to know because he needed help securing his transcript from the University of Ilorin. This friend of mine who needed the transcript was beginning to “panic” as his prospective employer needed the document — without which his employment prospect would come to naught.
Fortunately, this friend of mine was able to have his transcript sent after his friends and relatives, living in Lagos and elsewhere, interceded on his behalf. Well, Lagos to Ilorin is not exactly a very long distance; but considering the state of public transportation, leaving Lagos for Ilorin for the sole purpose of securing school documents can be worrisome. There is no guarantee that the transcript would be secured in the first, second, fifth or sixth attempt. None!
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 $50 may end up costing the requester 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 Chicago area has been trying to get hold of her complete transcripts from the University of Ibadan, all to no avail. First, the sending officer — after all the fees and bribe was given — did not fulfill his/her part of the bargain. More money and more time were spent, after which a partial transcript was sent. Let’s just say she is till waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Lottery-Greencard in hand; but she is unable to attend graduate school. Such is the frustration of obtaining official documents from Nigerian institutions of higher learning.
One of the unintended consequences of these difficulties is that some Nigerians have taken to forging documents. Forging documents is a crime; but it is even more criminal and malicious when an institution refuses to, or intentionally delay sending supporting documents to enable one achieve ones goal.
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.
I wonder how many Nigerians have failed to secure employment or graduate school admission all because Nigerian schools and other institutions failed to send complete and correct transcript in a timely manner.
How many dreams have been cut short by the actions and inaction of these wayward institutions or officers within those institutions? One may never know the answer.
What is clear is that there are a lot of Nigerians in the US and other western countries are seething with anger as a result of the current system.