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Sex for marks and its negative implications for national development

11th Nov, 2019 | By David Dogo | ||

Allegations of sex for marks in Nigerian tertiary institutions are gradually becoming rampant and worrisome. This perhaps prompted the recent focus on the problem by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) through a documentary in which some universities in Nigeria and Ghana were investigated by an undercover journalist.

The release of the documentary generated wide reactions and brought the ugly practice to public domain. Sex for marks is the demand or offer of sexual gratification in exchange for grade. This often times presents a two-fold scenario. It could be a lecturer demanding for sexual gratification from a student in exchange for marks or a student (usually female) offering sexual favours to a lecturer in exchange for a better grade. While the focus is often on the first, both aspects of this ugly practice are evil and constitute a major threat to the educational system.

The problem of sex for marks has persisted over time due to a number of reasons. There is the undue emphasis on paper qualifications for recruitment without due consideration for other factors such as character. As a result, students who are academically deficient become desperate and gullible in the hands of unscrupulous lecturers just in a bid to earn higher grades. Rather than encourage such students to work hard and improve, some lecturers take undue advantage of them to satisfy their sexual escapades. In another sense, such students are also likely to become very desperate to graduate in the face of weak grades that they may offer their body to willing lecturers in exchange for higher grades.

Another challenge is the lack of code of conduct for students and lecturers to guide lecturer/student relationship. Even where this exists, it is hardly known or enforced due to so-called 'academic freedom' Also, because of conspiracy among lecturers of such dubious character, most reported cases are not properly investigated. In some instances, students who report such cases of sexual abuse are targeted by other lecturers as a strategy of keeping them silent.

Some provocative exposures by some female students through indecent dressing have also contributed significantly. Such dressings are often interpreted by some lecturers as an overture by such licentious students. In addition, poor teaching methods, popularised by the 'hand-out syndrome' has contributed to this menace. The focus is therefore on making money rather giving qualitative teaching. Thus, many lecturers fail in their primary responsibility of imparting knowledge on their students in the hope that the fear of failing their courses will drive them to offer either financial or sexual favours.

The implications of sex for marks are diverse and debilitating. Today, many graduates of universities and polytechnics cannot match their competence with their certificates. They are therefore adding little or nothing to national development. Based on my personal experience with such graduates, I feel that if nothing is done to arrest the situation, the civil/public service may collapse in no distant future. It is not surprising that the NYSC recently resolved to take drastic action against institutions where such graduates were educated.

Apart from competence, there is also the issue of character. The essence of learning is to impart both education and character. Unfortunately, most graduates lack the character to contribute in moulding a morally upright society. The saying that "some have gone through the university but the university has not gone through them" is sadly true of many graduates. You can now understand why many civil servants cheat during promotion examinations and why corruption has persisted and remained a serious challenge to our national development. It is also instructive to appreciate the fact that sex for marks has birthed other problems in the educational system. These include examination malpractices, cultism,victimisation of principled students and other vices. These vices also appear to be on the increase and need to be tackled decisively as well.

To address all these, there is urgent need for government to revitalize technical and vocational training and education centres and collegesto take care of students who may beacademically deficient but who can easily acquire entrepreneurial skills. Government should also re-introduce scholarship schemes to help indigent students to pursue their educational careers without any hindrance. Higher institutions of learning should come up with a clear code of conduct and regulations governing the relationship between lecturers and students. They should also make it easy for victims of sexual harassment to report offenders without being victimized by other lecturers. Reported cases should be thoroughly investigated so that culprits are sanctioned and punished appropriately. It is gratifying to note that President Muhammadu Buhari himself has issued stern warning to those involved in this unwholesome practice and the stiff punishment that awaits them.

In addition, female students should ensure that interactions with their lecturers are within the confines of school rules and regulations. Dress code should also be introduced and enforced accordingly to ensure decent dressing by both male and female students. The National Universities Commission should consider introducing ethics and values as a compulsory general course in tertiary institutions. In conclusion, the society as a whole must take responsibility for taming the ugly trend. The sanctity of the academic environment as a citadel of learning must be preserved. The society must encourage the virtues of hard work, merit and uprightness. God bless Nigeria.

News Update

The Minister said this during the presentation of FCT 2020 statutory budget to the joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on the FCT.

To ensure strict compliance with the Abuja Master Plan and permanently tackle traffic situation within Gwarinpa the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) said it would remove no fewer than 850 makeshift shops/houses (popularly called 'batchers') and shanties along the N16 road.

Speaking to journalists last week during commencement of sitting of a mobile court at the head office of Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), popularly called Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), in Mabushi, Abuja, authorities of the organization defended the establishment of the court saying it was set up by FCTA to decide the fate of traffic offenders.

Ahead of the planned revocation of plots of land situated in serviced areas of Federal Capital City (FCC), the FCT Administration (FCTA) has inaugurated a task team to holistically verify all identified undeveloped plots of land where infrastructure has already been provided.

Malam Bello made the pledge when he received a delegation of the FCT Sharia Court of Appeal led by the Grand Khadi, Justice Ibrahim Rufa'i Imam who was on a courtesy visit to FCTA.

Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, made the clarion call and promised to reward such corps members who distinguish themselves during the one-year mandatory service..


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