I write to comment on the article about “‘sexually transmitted grades’ in our universities”.
It is alleged that some lecturers in our private and public universities give undeservedly higher grades to preferred female students in exchange for sexual favours.
The practice, code-named “sexually transmitted grades”, sometimes takes a different dimension when an intelligent female student turns down sexual advances of a male lecturer who covets her.
In this case, the lecturer frustrates such the intelligent student by failing her unless she gives in and offers herself for sex. Whatever name we call this practice, it certainly goes contrary to the core values that every university or college needs to uphold at all cost.
Lecturers are expected to demonstrate respect for students, conduct and ensure that assessment of students’ performance is genuine and without discriminatory treatment, exploitation and sexual harassment.
Lecturers, just like teachers in secondary and primary schools, must know that giving students grades which they do not deserve is failing them in a very serious way. Why?
Firstly, overrated students leave school and faced the world of work and serious business with wrong impression.
In short, they have an exaggerated sense of their know-how which may not be representative of what they are capable of doing.
They overestimate their ability and cultivate a false sense of competence and find themselves stymied by the real world.
In the real world, they will not get a promotion they do not deserve or handle complex tasks effectively without effort-unless they sleep with a libidinous boss or seduce a strong-willed one.
Secondly, students who get undeserved higher grades fail to learn hard and important standards in their field of study.
Instead, they cultivate laziness and complacency-becoming unable to understand the value of labour.
Offering students higher grades than what they deserve does great harm also to the institution that habour them.
It is a fact that the reputation of every institution is known by the quality of its graduates.
If an institution gives higher grades than what students deserve, people will soon know that the grades are not worth much because the alumni of the institution will not be as competitive and capacitated as expected on the job market.
In the end, the institution loses its value and credibility.
Against this backdrop, the National Council for Higher Education (Nche), which regulates universities and colleges in the country, must consider regulating assessment of students in institutions of higher learning.
There is need to level the playing field.
One way is to introduce a mandatory training courses for lecturers in matters of assessment.
From the story that appeared in the media recently, it is evident that not all lecturers know the principles of performance assessment.
The training, therefore, will be vital in putting in place a common ground for assessing students.
It will minimise or eliminate the disparities that exist when lecturers distribute marks or grades according to their sexual yearnings.
Nche should ensure that all colleges do not only have a senate put in place, but also a system in which a second eye or external examiners are involved to ensure that lecturers get the grades right regardless of their lust or uprightness.
The tutors need to be responsible and accountable for the grades they offer to ensure that students are fairly treated.
Universities and colleges are there for the service of the communities and are not immune to public scrutiny.
It is my hope that action will be taken by relevant authorities to ensure that the sticky issues under scrutiny are seriously tackled. n