I was in 400 level, when a Professor slapped, bullied, denigrated and insulted more than three students in class for going against his laid down golden rules. He was the head of the Union of the University’s Lecturers at that time and the power he had, oozed in his speeches and body language. His aim, like he often described in so many details, was to put back the missing grey matters in the minds of those bullied gentlemen. He was doing the family of the bullied persons and the society a favour. The first student who spoke in murmurs to his close friend was commanded to come kneel in the front of the lecture hall with his hands raised. The second undergraduate whose phone rang was called out to join him in the exercise of shame. The third victim was brought in front of the class and asked to lie(yes, lie) with his stomach on the ground, which he did, as penance for his mortal sin. Maybe not in that order but the various forms of bullying and absolution I listed happened under the nose of this Nigerian Lecturer. None of us had the guts to question his methods. We watched him do these in subsequent classes and for three months, none of us uttered a word, none of us questioned his methods and none of his victims were defiant. These didn’t happen in our first year in school, our sophomore or our third year. We were in our fourth year when this happened and he was the Chairperson of the University’s Union of Lecturers.
My first year in school prophesied the possibility of the scenario above. There was a compulsory course for every fresher in the first semester of the session. Irrespective of the relationship between your specific field of study and this course, you must, like a compulsory service, partake in it. The lecturers handling the course were of a unique stock. They all shared something in common–the entrenchment in the minds of the student, through physical, and emotional tortures, that all lecturers in the institution are Gods while the tutored are subhumans. I was never thought the basis of the course like anyone interested in educating will do. My lecturer didn’t explain the foundations or familiarize me with its terminologies. He simply came to the first class, wrote the topic on the board and gave us an assignment. It seemed it was planned because all who taught same course did something similar. Whether it was a smart psychological experiment that prepares our young minds I don’t know and there was no reason to affirm it was. Together, they created a system were kicks, punches and insults are met with humour from the bullied students. Acts that denigrate, dehumanise and de-robe young minds were seen as hilarious and deserving. The lucky student in this avalanche of torture became the ones who only received generational and demeaning cusses from their supposed tutors. The school was aware of this. The parents of the students were aware. This is still going on and nothing has been done about it.
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Why does a Nigerian Lecturer feel that he is God walking among dwarfs? In our schools, our lecturers have the power to fail whosoever they wish and nothing will be done to reverse it. They also have the exclusive rights to pass whoever they deem worthy of a place in their kingdom. So many decisions taken, detrimental to the success of students and the society, are not seen for what they are but a corrective method. A lecturer could decide to fail you because you always ask, in his class, what he considers stupid questions. He could also fail you for moving around with a female student he admires. Most lecturers walk around with the aura of a deity. And I wonder, how all these things they do, all these rights they abuse and this self-deification, equate the positive education they were meant to provide. What is the stand of a Nigerian Lecturer on Education? Are the lecturers interested in growing our poor education or uplifting it? If they are interested in the growth of the students and the society, why do they act the way they do? Why do men and women who are supposed to be the guardians of education act like they are interested in the demise of sound knowledge and positive behaviour? With all due respect, you are not Gods or close and the unformed minds of the students are your ally.
Mr Nigerian Lecturer, why do you use a 1993 lecture note to teach me in the 21st century? As undergraduates, so many of us witnessed several scenarios were the material used in lecturing us is ten or more years behind the year in session. In 2013, I was lectured and given a material meant for students in 1991 and asked to handle it with care by the professor. The material was very old and unkept and still had some old definitions and ideas that have been replaced in the twenty-first century. We were being taught and assessed by outdated ideas and techniques that no longer holds true in the modern world we live. Their was no sense of shame from the lecturer in question. Another situation is where our lecturers use materials copied verbatim from the internet. Back in school, we copy paragraphs of notes given to us by lecturers and post on Google to know which lecturer copied from the net. Only few passed the test. If our educators don’t do researches before developing their lecture notes then we are in grave danger of producing weak graduates. When a lecturer keeps using materials that are outdated, the education of the nation bleeds.
We often talk about ghost students in our Universities but forget the ghost lecturers who do more damage to our educational system. The ghost lecturer cheats the society, cheats the university management and cheats the students of sound education and their tuition fees. There are lecturers who happily miss their lecture periods, and irrespective of the number of calls they receive from students willing to learn, they never show up. At month end, their bank account grows fatter. There are also lecturers who read from their notes and are paid monthly. Some Nigerian lecturers do nothing exceptional but are paid handsomely at the end of the month. To these set of lecturers, the students are insignificant. No wonder we have half baked graduates littered all over the country. All great nations focus on their education. No nation is ever great without the raising of the consciousness of her people. But where does a Nigerian lecturer and ASUU(Academic Staff Union of Universities) stand in all these? It doesn’t seem like they are concerned about the welfare of the students or the country’s future but only about themselves. They do nothing when students are bullied, humiliated and insulted by their members. They just watch and expel students who try to question or challenge the faulty system.
Hello Nigerian Lecturer, what do you understand by education? Is education the denigration and abuse of the human rights of Nigerian students? Is education the bullying you carry out daily on your students to make them healthier beings? Is education the deliberate absence from the lecture halls and the response you offer with your exam sheet? What exactly is the meaning of this thing called lecturing? Is it coming out to read the contents of your notes and getting paid at the end of the month? With all due respect, if that is the scope of lecturing, anyone can lecture. Do you disagree? What is your understanding of the true test of knowledge? A bunch of ideas you copied from the internet poured back by the students whose minds you infiltrated with the cramming illness? What about the 1992 lecture note you still use to lecture your students in 2017? What is the big deal in copying from the internet as usual and updating the material to today’s standard? How do you feel seeing your students fail your course? How do you feel when you see students you taught(taught?) Quantum Mechanics packing refuse to survive in the society? How do you feel knowing(yes, you should know) that none of your students remember your name(for good reasons) once they leave the school? What made you think your ‘hard’ and unsmiling appearance will make people respect you more? Failing your course only means your teaching skills are poor. Stop rejoicing when you should be ashamed of your poor skills. Hello My Nigeria Lecturer, what is your stand on Education? But before you answer that question, are you educated?