By Tare Youdeowei, Elizabeth Uwandu & Kelechukwu Iruoma
INSTITUTIONS in Nigeria have long been citadels where students must buy text books and ‘handouts’ (materials) recommended and written by their lecturers before they can pass the courses being taught by the lecturers.
As a result of the recession in the country, students lament that; instead of being considerate and relax their resolve of making text books compulsory, lecturers still compel students to buy their text books, otherwise, they will fail their courses.
Lecturers, however, revealed that they sell textbooks to survive the economic hardship since their salaries are quite discouraging and not being paid as at when due. Meanwhile, some of the students who spoke to Quadlife revealed that they are being punished, intimidated and frustrated by lecturers as a result of not being able to buy the books compelled to buy.
A female student of Faculty of Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, who did not want her name in print revealed that text books are actually made compulsory in the school by some lecturers amidst this economic recession. “It has gotten to a point where one cannot make use of text books used by their elders simply because the receipts of the text books must be submitted to the lecturers while registering their ourses.
Photocopy of the materials
“In my department one lecturer said his textbooks are not compulsory but will tell the class representative to get him the names of those that paid. What will he be doing with the names if the books are not compulsory?
“A lecturer will release materials to students and demand that they pay certain amount to him for releasing the materials. What pains me is that we make the photocopy of the materials with our money and still pay him for releasing the materials to us. He used to say, ‘A doctor (Ph.D) cannot release his knowledge to students free of charge.”
Also lamenting the situation, Ifeanyi Eze (not real name), a 300-level student of Education and Applied Arts, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, said that students face untold hardship in the hands of lecturers in the form of intimidation, punishment and sometimes, out-right failing the students.
“For me, as a student, handouts are only necessary and not compulsory. So, lecturers should not compel students to buy handouts because, it is too obvious that most of the textbooks do not correspond with the course outline.”
Bankole Adure, a Higher National Diploma, HND, student of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, MAPOLY, Ogun state, said textbooks and handouts are necessary ingredients to get good grades as they afford students the opportunity to get in depth knowledge of their courses.
Adure frowned at the idea where lecturers compel their students to buy textbooks and handouts that are not in line with the course outline. “I believe if textbooks and handouts are optional, the results of students will be poor compared to when it is made compulsory. However, if the handouts do not tally with the subjects, authorities should not engage students to buy them.”
Another student from Faculty of Education, UNN, who identified herself as Agatha, noted that some general courses textbooks in the institution are made compulsory, adding that if students do not buy them, they would register the courses and that would be an automatic fail. “The textbooks of two courses offered by Center for Entrepreneurship Development are made compulsory, Statistics, Computer Science and the General Studies units make textbooks compulsory.” She noted that the prizes of the books range from N1200 to N1700.
Explaining the reason lecturers impose texbooks and handouts on students, a lecturer in one of the federal universities, Dr. Chukwuemeka (not real name), said; “You cannot really blame lecturers. Take me for instance, my salary, as I am speaking to you is N123, 000 based on my rank. If you tell me to relocate to Lagos, I wouldn’t because the cost of living is so high and I wouldn’t be able to take anything home.
“A senior lecturer earns about 220, 000, a professor’s salary stops at 550,000. This is very poor and this is because the reward for academia is very poor. Lecturers and teachers are struggling to make ends meet and their commitment level is therefore low.