Most of the time when issues of national interest get a media boost we all act as though this is the first time such a social issue has caught our attention. As a people, we don’t attach the seriousness necessary to solve our societal problems. We seem to govern our lives based on what is trending on social and traditional media and the moment the traction dies online, our interest in such matters also dwindle. As sad as this may appear to be, we have also not held those in authority accountable for our woes as a people because we as a people do not expect much from our own selves. We constantly belittle our abilities to cause change to happen without pointing accusing fingers at those in authority.
This week we have seen the media uproar brought about by a BBC documentary dubbed “Sex For Grades”. As expected, we have all jumped on the band wagon speaking our minds and expressing total disgust towards the content of the documentary. This to a large extent has contributed to the tagging of some lecturers who are suspected to be engaging in this shameful act. But the question still remains – WERE WE NOT AWARE OF THIS CANKER PRIOR TO THE BBC DOCUMENTARY? And of course we all were and still are and yet here we are. We did nothing to deal with the lecturers who have become demigods lauding over students they are supposed to nurture and protect.
In any serious nation, pragmatic steps are taken to ensure that potential challenges in any given sector are dealt with. It is also true that without problems taking certain sizeable forms, the motivation to develop solutions for them can be missing. Lecturers demanding for sex from students before doing what is expected of them is not a new phenomenon. Its prevalence however, cannot be accepted either now or going forward. It is also interesting how security men and drivers on university campuses do not demand sex for their services but lecturers and those in educational authorities do so. It is all because we have created some mystery around tutoring and the marking of examination papers in such manner that seeking to know how you were graded is almost like a costly caesarian session. At least our elections are transparent and in the event where there is a sniff of opacity, lecturers from all over Ghanaian universities flood media stations to register their displeasure. Is it not interesting that these same lecturers do not exhibit the same level of vehemence to make their marking schemes and scoring systems transparent?
First of all, the marking and scoring of any test or examination paper should not reside in the bosom of one lecturer. Departments across universities should make such markings multifaceted and multiple layered. Any single test or exams score given by a lecturer should be supervised by a senior lecturer and the department’s board to ensure that the right score was given. This board should also be gender balanced. In the event where a student feels displeased about scores given, there should be freedom to contest the test results without punishment or prejudice. Students have paid fees for the services of lecturers and the university as a whole so when they feel disgruntled about services provided (which include scores received), why should they be punished by paying extra charges for demanding clarity in the very services they have previously paid for? The sex for grade does not only make lecturers complicit. All universities and lecturing board members are complicit in this scandal because it is a cub we have nurtured to become a full grown lion. Shame on all of us for playing the proverbial ostrich. I just hope this ling rant was sane enough.
Writer: Frank Akwei | @AkweiOfficial