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17.03.2009 Editorial

When Lecturers Become Vampires

By Daily Guide

SOME LECTURERS in our tertiary institutions, especially those in the traditional state-owned universities and professional institutions have become 'vampires' who have been 'sucking' the blood of students whom they are to guard and protect.  

The attitudes of such lecturers have made university education the preserve of 'bungalowbii' because the many 'shiabii' are finding it difficult to cope with both the amorous and financial demands of these lecturers.

Matters of 'meat-to-meat' where some lecturers subject female students to persistent pressure, using both covert and overt means to woo the daughters of Eva into warming their beds for marks, akin to the era of  'fa wo backside be gye golf', are once again the order of the day.

My headache is not about the 'meat-to-meat' business some lecturers engage in since “he who lives in a glass house does not throw stones” but about what they put in when they go out there to lecture students. I have received numerous complaints from some students of our tertiary institutions officially or through casual interactions about how some of their lecturers rip them off in the name of preparing pamphlets or textbooks for them.

The students alleged that some of their lecturers spend little time lecturing and later come out with pamphlets which students are forced to buy. What they do is to insist that questions for their end of semester exams, quiz or interim assessment would be selected from the pamphlets. And students will have themselves to blame if they fail to buy the pamphlets.

Again, some of the lecturers were accused of driving students away from their classes if they found out that those students did not buy the said pamphlets. Whatever way you look it, at the end of the day, the students would have to buy the pamphlet or teaching material.

This kind of intimidation and holding students at ransom is pure blackmail! You may disagree with me but I want to insist that literarily forcing students to purchase pamphlets made by a lecturer in order to pass that particular paper is not just blackmail but pure robbery.

Unfortunately, the students cannot muster courage to inform the school hierarchy for fear of victimization. They have to endure such cruelty in silence, hoping to pass their exams and complete school.

My investigations have revealed that some of the Heads of Departments, Deans of Students, Vice-Chancellors and Rectors are not aware of what goes on in their schools.

I'm aware of the limited reading and other learning materials for students probably due to inability of writers to write books for the market or because some of the books are too expensive for the 'Shiabii' to buy to supplement whatever stuff they are given during lectures.

It is therefore necessary for some of the lecturers to be 'innovative' by coming out with such ideas of providing supplementary materials for their students. The advent of the internet has made it possible for students to have an ocean of information to choose from.

Unfortunately, the provision of these supplementary materials by the lecturers to aid their students has rather become an albatross hanging on the necks of the students who are finding it difficult even raising huge sums of money to pay those 'Dracula' landlords and ladies for their accommodation, bearing in mind that most of the students at the tertiary level often come from outside the region where the school is situated.

This kind of mafia tactics has worsened the already poor academic performance of students at the tertiary level. It is no more a secret that asking students to reproduce materials given to them by lecturers is asking them not to study outside the box. Yes, students have been restricted to the strait-jacket kind of academic work. The inquisitive mind and the quest to reach higher grounds with alacrity have been reduced to 'chew and pour, pass and forget'.

No wonder tertiary institutions in Ghana, particularly the traditional ones, are gradually losing their aura of prestige and myth that surround them. They are still referred to as the pinnacle of higher learning but the quality of their teaching has been in doubt.

The kind of scholars being churned out every academic year is an apology of the scholastic work at those universities. There has been societal uproar about the low level of education in our tertiary institutions as a result of performance of the majority of 'scholars' who come out of such places of higher learning.

To worsen the situation is the issue of insufficient lecture halls. Go to the University of Ghana, Legon, Institute of Professional Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), University of Cape Coast, University of Education-Winneba and other state-run tertiary institutions and you will understand what I'm saying.

If you want to sit comfortably during a lecture session, then you have to get to the lecture hall ahead of time or a friend has to reserve a seat for you. It is pathetic to see students standing inside and outside lecture theatres listening to lectures because the hall cannot accommodate all of them.

In this technology era where one does not need to be physically present to access lecture notes, students in this country have to stand for hours during lectures. In this particular case, our scientific development is in the reverse. What I mean is that tertiary students of yesteryears had the best in terms of accommodation, feeding, fun and education. Today, instead of 'moving forward' we have increased the student population without the corresponding infrastructure. Private hostellers including landlords and ladies have turned their 'toilets' into living rooms and weathered the storm for students by providing some kind of accommodation, even though at exorbitant cost; suffice it to say however that no private person has built any theatre hall or classrooms for the students.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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