Nigerian Universities And Information Management

(By Efionayi Aibuedefe Osaro)

I believe that with a minimal cost our higher institutions can use students’ email addresses to pass vital information to them, as in this case informing them of their exams.  Students will well appreciate it even if they have to pay for it on their final clearance.  However, this should not been seen as an opportunity to exploit students.  Bulk SMS would have also gone a long way to saving students the frustration of traveling to school only to discover that exams had been concluded a week or two back.

A COUPLE of weeks ago, a friend called to express his disappointment, displeasure and frustration on his inability to write his carryover courses.  As if that was not enough trouble already, his wife in the same institution came home with the same story.  They both became aware of the examinations shortly after the exams were already written.  My friend, in this state of confusion, went to the department to vent his anger and frustration and was clearly told there was nothing they could do about it. Expecting a word of hope and encouragement he called me for consolations.

  While we might be quick to assume they were unserious or probably engrossed in their new found love to the extent that their academics pursuit makes little or no meaning to them or that they forgot anything and everything that pertained to their post-graduate programme in an attempt to celebrate their marriage ecstasy, a little background tips to the circumstance of the event might just be helpful.

  The institution advertised for the sale of the post-graduate programme (PGD) in 2008, industrial strike coupled with other administrative issues forestalled the commencement of the programme until 2010; the course duration according to the school calendar was a nine months programme.  The three semester programme was finally completed in November 2011 with students not having the opportunity to see any of the semester results.

  In May, 2013, when the current set of students had about two weeks to commence their last semester exams, the three semester results were released with a number of students failing their first semester courses. To the institution, pasting exam time-table and result on the notice board was enough notice to all the students irrespective of their location.  It is assumed that it is now their responsibilities to check and then prepare to re-write any failed courses.

  As expected in such circumstances only a handful of students within the state and environs were able to check and subsequently made attempts to reseat courses they failed.  Many only discovered that they failed some first semester courses while they were writing the last semester examination.

  In an attempt to salvage the situation another examination was organised by the institution in last month, (June 2013), for students who failed first, second and third semester examinations, again the notice was placed on the board and deemed enough information for students.  Again not many were aware and available for the exam as was the case of my friend.

   This write-up is a clarion call to our educational Institutions to embrace new wave and trend in technology. As a reference point, students are made to fill various kinds of forms on admission, provisions are made for phone calls and email addresses.  The purpose of these details is to reach students with ease.

  I believe that with a minimal cost our higher institutions can use students’ email addresses to pass vital information to them, as in this case informing them of their exams.  Students will well appreciate it even if they have to pay for it on their final clearance.  However, this should not been seen as an opportunity to exploit students.  Bulk SMS would have also gone a long way to saving students the frustration of traveling to school only to discover that exams had been concluded a week or two back.

   In the banking industry, for instance, it has become a trend in the industry that as soon as transactions take place in a customer’s account alert is sent, most times almost immediately with the teller not performing any other task beyond his regular function of crediting or debiting the account.  The SMS is system generated. Our educational institution can borrow a leaf from the banking industry, by first collating the data base of students, and then possibly segment them into sessions and courses for ease of reference.  That way, disseminating vital information becomes a click of the button, with the aid of relevant tools.

  In this era of information technology our educational institutions should maximize its use, to save them the embarrassment of printing an unused examination question papers.  It could be viewed as a system failure when exams are set; personnel are deployed yet fewer than 50 per cent of the students are not available because they were not able to check the school notice board to be aware of the examinations.

  Finally, it is a disservice to self to disassociate from social networks and networking.  Regular conversation through these social networks might have saved the couple the frustration and dilemma they are in right now. Who would you have crucified, the institution, the couple or their friends?  Let’s save ourselves the stress by maximising assets at our disposal.

By Efionayi Aibuedefe Osaro.

“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”

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