IN CHARACTER AND CRAMMING

IN CHARACTER AND CRAMMING

All universities surely have their peculiar shortcomings; no single university is unique in that respect. Though I have not been to other universities and the best I can offer is a myopic view of them. I have been to the University of Ibadan, I am presently in UI, and this offers me the privilege to write a firsthand criticism of the institution to decry some of her shortcomings. Note that this article is not written to downgrade UI but to address the anomalies associated with the citadel of learning.
To avoid writing an unnecessarily long and boring article, I will focus on addressing the academic and evaluation shortcoming of UI. Although, there are scores of others like hall maladministration, I won’t touch those sides now. But permit me to digress a bit by addressing the freshers to avoid getting fooled, UI is not heaven. The hyping around the institution is so enormous and unfounded, yet it is potent enough to get many into unduly believing in the fable that UI is far from malady.


Experiencing life in UI firsthand, if it has done anything to me, it is to prove the exact opposite. I’m not saying life here is uninteresting or that life here is unbearable. I’m just saying life here is very far from expectation, and I am advising you to please do yourself a favour by lowering those expectations of yours, for UI is not ‘all’ you think she is. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to scare you, you will understand once you get here. Just don’t get fooled, UI is not heaven.
The one shortcoming that is likely to have influenced the writing of this article as suggested by the title is the way tests and examinations questions are set and conducted; it doesn’t really foster academic learning. I will explain and Uites can confirm. If you must pass any test or examination in UI, you will do yourself a favour by discarding those bulky textbooks and voluminous course materials and focusing your efforts on past questions only.

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It is already an established norm in most faculties of the institution to have past tests and examinations questions repeated (the reason for this I can’t say, maybe laziness), even though the current students are likely to be taught by a different lecturer, making many ‘serious jackers’ do TDB in vain. This has done nothing but to discourage students from active learning, and so instead of studying they resort to cramming past questions and answers. This is a big problem because the outcome poses a threat to University of Ibadan’s foremost and most echoed goal, which is to bring up students in character and learning.
I once conversed with a student who told me he did not for once open a particular course material until a night before the test, and when he saw the multitudinous pages he needed to cover that night he was disheartened and had to take solace in cramming past questions and answers, and that by doing just that he was able to ace the test. How ridiculous, you may say. In fact, I have a roommate, a finalist, who I have never for once seen reading any of his course materials, but few days to exam you will see him with several past questions, cramming his way to pass – and he sure passes. This is wrong because it tantamount to taking shortcuts to success and it should not be the case in the premier university of Nigeria, or even anywhere else.
Although many students may have gotten used to the system that they wish it never changes, at least until they graduate. Yet after performing a cost-benefit analysis of the situation, I was able to deduce that the short-run impact appears to be positive and beneficial to the students in that they pass set examinations excellently and come out with good grades, but the long-run effect of supplying deficient and unintelligent adults to the labour force will be a negative impact, for the students will turn out to be liabilities to the nation rather than assets.


Finally, University of Ibadan is fast becoming a backbencher in the league of universities and this may be attributed to one thing – the increasing number of ‘crammers’ than ‘learners’ in the populace which constitute her students. Although scores of students still study, I mean they still engage in active learning. They sure know they can’t beat the system through reading alone. So they read on one hand and cram past questions answers on the other hand. This is good for them, but not good enough. We should not try to live with a system that is unjust and far below standard, we should instead try to reform it. This article is penned for that purpose: to force the administration into thinking and taking necessary actions aimed at reforming the current examination and evaluation process keeping pace with international standard, and also to make the evaluation process supportive of the institutional goal which is to raise up students who are found worthy in character and LEARNING.


- Alabi O. Stephen

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