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APPROACHES TO CLASSES AND THE DECAY OF INTELLECTUALISM

 

Nigeria everywhere is associated with fantastic corruption. However, though its arsenal of corruption known to the Cosmo is that of financial impropriety, it is bullishly corrupt in all its ramifications – anything you could think of. The most alarming is the intellectual shrine which is supposed to be the bode of normalcy. No! What brought us here is something you must encountered on a daily basis, not anything new and neither is it financial malapropism in the citadel. Corruption according to Oxford also includes the act of changing, or of being changed, for the worse; departure from what is pure, simple, or correct; as, a corruption of style.   

The system of teaching in Nigeria like every other facet of tertiary institutions has become so corrupt, which makes it heart breaking. Tutors are being paid for jobs they aren’t doing; and for some others that do, gives the impression of poor delivery. Only a few of these can really maintain their heads on high. But then, according to an anonymous writer, can they really be blamed? Since teaching has become the only option for some of them, it wasn’t like something have the passion or what it takes to do, they just couldn’t opt in for other options, not especially when Nigeria hasa turned into a haven of job mongers. One of the guiding factor behind this is the notion that people who study any of the unprofessional courses especially in the humanities have no job in the labour market; so, as a student, one should try to graduate with a first class so that there would be a chance to be retained as a lecturer. In fact, some of the lecturers got into the system because they were retained. Now that teaching have become an option, the system obviously will be poor. And to be fair, these calibre of lecturers or tutors can’t be blamed. Not especially when it is the citadel that is in desperate need of these tutors/lecturers. Courses that are hitherto taken by two to three lecturers are now taken by one. It is even worse that some courses in some departments have no lecturers for them, marking their gradual extinction. You identify some courses in the prospectus or Students’ Handbook but when registering, you discover there are no lecturers for them. What happens to the knowledge expected to be derived from these courses? Gone to oblivion. The corruption in that is not the loss of its knowledge but the perceived and obvious desperation the citadel might employ in filling the void.

Few years in the citadel has made one observe the different kinds of lecturers with different adopted methods of teaching; the hardworking ones, the average lecturers, the old/fatigued lecturers and the last category especially whom students unanimously are not always eager to be in their classes, jump for joy when their classes are cancelled or eager to see the end of the class. Some of these lecturers falls in two categories.  The very hardworking ones goes to classes regular, and wouldn’t miss a single class, their classes are usually enjoyable. They give term papers and tests at the appropriate time. Unfortunately, there are only few of them in the University. It would have been so nice to have enough of them in the system; this would have relieved some unnecessary stress and of course improve students declining attitude to learning. Even when students tend to feel the hardworking ones are over serious or complain they are rather asking for too much, they alone can decide who is giving them the best they deserve.

The average lecturers are those ones who do not attend classes regularly, they put so much pressure on students, recreate their own time tables; rush classes when exams are fast approaching; give unnecessary assignments, terms and impromptu tests.

Another version of this category includes lecturers who emphatically state in classes no student can get an “A” in their course and of course, it is something they are often proud of. No matter your level of brilliance, you should know before-hand your best will only interpret as next-best.

A story once told by a colleague goes thus: “during last semester, a particular lecturer never came to class until about a week to exams only to give out an assignment which must be submitted on the day of the exam. Apart from giving out the assignment, he organised two hours extra classes every day to the day of exam in which attendance was made compulsory. There were other courses to attend to, but we just couldn’t face them squarely.” There are other lecturers such as this who inhibit the act of organising classes without considering the student’s time. A question for thought comes in; “why agree to teach a course when you won’t be available at the right time to teach it?” Besides, can tertiary institution in Nigeria still be viewed in the light of progression or retrogression? It isn’t going backwards, of course the past was and is still better than the present. Evidently, it won’t be harsh to conclude it is only going down, down to infinitum.

And, we have the old and the fatigue ones, these ones are the legendary lecturers of the department, who in some ways had taught almost all the lecturers in the department, they can’t take an hour class because they get tired easily. They come regularly, but get tired before the end of the class. A student once testified, “to make matters worse, the lecturer might be taking two courses, and you might not even hear him in classes; such people tend to forget things very easily in class, and might never remember whatever he had taught us in the previous class. He should have retired by now. But No, they are still teaching, and this is seriously affecting the students.” The best reason accruable to this remains speculative.

And the last category, they enter class and offer little or no explanations. Dictate long boring notes, exceed time stipulated and leave, not even taking questions. Of course, many would agree that even the secondary school life was better than this. Others are those who increase arbitrarily their two-hours a week class to four or more to finish early and attend to some private other matters. Now, the flaw in this is that just as they do have private lives, students also do. It is no-brainer that students involve themselves in extracurricular activities in order to enrich their fountain of knowledge and know-how. It is no longer ideal to attend a University and graduate with just a degree without acquiring diverse skills to improve on oneself and better the society. But then, these extra unwarranted additions not only jeopardise the effectiveness of these activities, but as well has compelled many to become robotic, unwilling to delve into other interesting and rewarding enterprise.

Conclusion wouldn’t be incomplete if this isn’t added but then, it is fast becoming a menace. It is the imperatively compulsory course of male lecturers teaching their female students the benefits of sexual promiscuity and the negative implication of not yielding to demands of the flesh seeking lustful satisfaction. An example is that which happened in OAU just of recent; a phone recording of a conversation that ensued between a lecturer and his student was released where he was heard asking his student for an affair before he would award her a pass mark in his course. Of course, it is only sane to infer that this is not a peculiar case to OAU; it is rampant everywhere.

Conclusively it cannot be said that most of these acts are known to the school management, but they have failed to do anything about it or perhaps we are yet to see what is being done about it. It will only be apt if something is done and the core value of tertiary education is restored in its rightful place. Just perhaps, even the rate of tsunami might reduce.

 

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