I currently supervise some final year undergraduate students. I have checked and corrected their projects about five times each. I do that to make sure their projects are up to standard. But to them, I am being too harsh and strict. I seldom check the hardcopy of projects or write-ups, but mostly softcopy. Each time I make corrections, I track the corrections and changes to be sure all I ask are being considered. Again, I insist on email exchange of information between my students and I to enable them efficiently learn and make use of computers and appreciate the power of information technology.
What I learnt oftentimes is, while I do that to save their money from printing, they are too lazy to make use of computers or online resources to effect their works and corrections; they rely on business centres for their works. They are mostly not the ones typing their works, but the business centres. And is not that they don’t have laptops or there isn’t any computer at the library, but they can’t spend their time doing it. This is the reason most of them do not even know the features of Microsoft Word. Because I insist on quality, my name is already everywhere that I am too strict.
I make this statement to show that students nowadays no longer pay attention to learning, but socializing. They are on all platforms of the social media. I check those I supervise and I find them online midnights and almost throughout the days. Google is there to help us search the information we want always, but instead of using it, they spend more time on Facebook, Tiktok and Twitter. The kind of projects our students submit to us are just “copy and paste”. Most of them do not even know how to paraphrase, not to talk of composing their own idea.
This trend is a repercussion of a life they spend in their secondary schools. I was surprised when one SS 1 student told me how popular she is on Twitter and Facebook. Again, another SS 2 student I interacted with couldn’t comfortably define Noun, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, but she is very much into social networking. This knowledge of their weakness gave me confidence to tell some of them that they can’t make it in JAMB. I have told one of them who was too engaged in going to occasions and socializing that she can’t make it in JAMB. When the result was out yesterday, she got 56 and she was shamelessly insulting JAMB.
My stay in Malaysia and interaction with many scholars and supervisors have taught me how to teach and learn efficiently and effectively without seeing students, but making them feel and think like I am always with them. Students can be subjected to research by making them busy searching and reading. That cannot happen if we do not make use of computers and IT a habit. I make such lazy students that pay more attention to social media busy by giving them too much work. As soon as they submit, I give them another one. At times, I give them my personal work if there’s nothing for them to do just to make their brains busy. Through that, they learn to make themselves equipped for future challenges.
Those that failed JAMB have not read. Those that have read have passed. Period! Our education is degrading by the day. The quality is demeaning and surpressing. But the fault is with the parents. In the name of showing them love, they spoil them by buying them phones and other accessories that divert them from studies.
Auwal Mustapha Imam, PhD