By Ebele Orakpo
“Gone are the days when teachers believed that their reward is in heaven. They want their reward here and now or they take it by force,” commented Bassey this Monday morning as the commuter bus crawled along with other vehicles in the early morning showers along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway. “Why should their reward be in heaven when they work on earth? They have been deceived for so long but now, they know better having seen the way politicians spend our money,” replied Abe.
“Bassey, what do you mean by teachers taking their reward by force? asked John. “Haven’t you noticed the extortions going on in our schools?” asked Bassey.
He continued: “Ah, with enough money, you can buy university degrees now. I was shocked when a lecturer boasted that three of his students were going to make second class upper division in their degree exam.” “Big deal! Of course as their lecturer, he should know the capability of his students so he should know those who can make what grade,” noted Joy.
Answered Bassey: “The issue is that the three candidates are not even students and they don’t live in Nigeria.”“That has been going on for a long time. Recently, a friend told me that during one of their exams, she saw so many new faces in the class and she began to ask if they were part of the class. Her friend hushed her, telling her to mind her business. It was later she learnt that they were part of the class but never attend lectures. They only come during exams to register their presence,” said Tony.
“So how do they make it when they don’t attend lectures?” asked Chioma. “That is a small matter. The lecturers know how they do it. Those students make very good grades and the lecturers smile to the bank. It’s big business,” stated Tony. “Oh God! I weep for this nation. Any wonder then that some of our so-called graduates know next to nothing about their supposed field of expertise?” lamented Joy.
“That is why this over-dependence on paper qualification will be our undoing. Imagine such persons carrying such certificates to an employer, of course, they will get the job ahead of those with lower grades, yet they know absolutely nothing,” said Dayo.
“I think our education sector needs total overhauling. In fact, it needs fumigation. So many anomalies are going on there. A friend told me that his project supervisor during his master’s programme was so hostile, always canceling his work and asking him to start afresh without telling him what he did wrong. At a point, he decided he will only show him the end-result. He complained to a friend about his supervisor and the friend asked if he was ‘seeing’ the man and he replied in the negative. He was advised to ‘see’ the man if he wanted to graduate. He ‘saw’ the man with N5,000 and his project was instantly accepted!” narrated Tony.
“So ‘seeing’ him means bribing him?” asked Chioma Said Abe: “In my school, if you want to write your project yourself, you pay N50,000 and if you want the lecturer to do it for you, you pay less and each time you go to meet with your supervisor, you pay N2,500. Honestly, if you go back to school now, you will weep.” “Ha! So why should I pay more for doing my work by myself?” asked Joy.
“Because you wan show lecturer say you over sabi. You are telling them you are too intelligent,” replied Abe. “Of course, if you want to see your supervisor, you pay consultation fee of N2,500,” joked Bassey.
“So is it that they are not well paid?” asked Chioma to which Tony replied: “Not really. But the politicians earn so much but then, are the students they are extorting earning salaries?”