BY IKENNA ASOMBA
Determined to eradicate what he termed ‘unmarketable degree awards’, the President/Vice-Chancellor, Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, Ogun State, Professor James Makinde, at the institution’s 11th convocation ceremony, reiterated the university’s commitment of not giving room for third class or Common Pass graduates during convocations.
However, this did not go down well with some members of the audience as some were heard muttering that a student’s final academic standing in the university does not determine the level of success such a student could achieve later on in life.
A middle-aged lady queried “the over-concentration on grades and certificates in this country. After all, there are cases of so many great Nigerian men and women today, who graduated with a third class degrees from the university, but are doing exceptionally well today. Nigeria’s Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, is a good example.”
While addressing the convocation, Makinde revealed that of the 1,359 graduates awarded degrees and diplomas across the nine faculties of the university, 52 made first class degrees division, while 1, 059 and 248 made second class upper and second class lower divisions respectively.
“No ordinary third class, no common pass was produced. When Babcock pioneered the radical quality transformation initiative, enforcing ‘C’ minimum grades for core courses, thus technically eradicating the unmarketable degree awards, there was a loud outcry from various stakeholders and a section of the public denouncing the exclusion of weak students.
“Undaunted in our default but unpopular lead role, we passionately dared the system to tap into this energy to drive the prioritization of functional employability and entrepreneurship of graduates over a mere facilitation of nominal graduation.”
The don, however, held that the university’s commitment to barring third class and common pass degrees is not unconnected with the recent declaration by the National Universities Commission (NUC), to outlaw pass degree awards in all Nigerian universities.
Speaking further, the VC noted that “this is a commendable first step on the path to repairing the broken educational standard that unleashes unemployable below average (50%) university graduates into the workforce.”
As no university in the world accepts third class for direct master’s degree admission, Makinde averred that any student who fails to meet up with ‘C’ minimum grade for core courses is referred to summer class, which holds during vacations. This is even as he disclosed that “a student has to score 80 and above in any course to have an ‘A’ grade, unlike in most tertiary institutions, where it is 70.”