• [Article] Anxiety in Kaduna Polytechnic Over Sale of Handouts

    A situation where some lecturers force students of tertiary institutions to buy textbooks and handouts with promise of giving them extra marks is now normal in many institutions in the country. The trend is also said to be the norm in Kaduna Polytechnic (KadPoly).

    It was observed that while the trend continues to gain ground students suffer, in silence, under the grip of lecturers who perpetrate such acts.

    A student of Mass Communication who pleaded for anonymity told reporters that a few lecturers in the department sell textbooks. “Though they don’t impose their books on anybody, whoever buys will have his/her name written down by the lecturer. So a lot of students buy for fear of failing the course. Clearly, something is attached to writing the names of those that buy it. But for handouts, we only pay to make photocopies.”

    Another student of the department said: “When I was in ND1, our lecturer asked us to buy a textbook, he even told us that anyone who did not buy the textbook will fail his course; so students had to source for money to buy the book to avoid having a carry-over in the course.”

    Speaking from the Department of Computer Science, a student said: “I once fell victim of the act when a lecturer in my department asked us to buy his book but because I didn’t buy the book, I failed the course. I tried to take the case up with the management but I was advised by another lecturer to stand down because if I did and the lecturer proved that I actually failed the course, I would be suspended, so I had to keep quiet and repeat the course the following session.”

    In the Department of Accountancy, it was gathered that some lecturers sell textbooks they authored, for between N1,500 and above. “They make it compulsory for us to buy and they give us numbers as we buy the textbooks,” a student said, adding: “Sometime, some lecturers will insist that you buy soft drinks and snack or lunch for them, which may not be convenient for students who are not wealthy. The students that are from rich families and can afford to buy anything for a lecturer are usually favoured.”

    The Rector of the polytechnic, Dr. Mohammed Bello Ibrahim, said selling of handouts or textbooks for whatever reason, either with the promise of giving extra marks or for the purpose of making extra money from students and any other thing that will entail a financial relationship between academic staff and the students, is totally wrong, illegal and a punishable offence.

    He said there is a disciplinary committee in the school that handles such cases and gives appropriate punishment ranging from suspension and surcharge, among others, depending on the gravity of the offence.

    He said: “Nothing stops a lecturer from preparing handout. If there is a written note, you can drop it with the students for them to copy or make photocopy but not for the lecturer to prepare it for sale.

    “And for publishing of textbooks, there is a procedure, which mostly is between you and the publisher. You will get a publisher who is interested in financing the production of your book. He collects the manuscript and takes it to an editor who will edit it. After the review and correction, among others things, it is the publisher that will publish it, launch it, market and sell the book. Publishing of books is not meant for localising the market against your students, a lecturer that knows his worth will publish books that can be sold nationally and internationally, the provisions are laid down, so it is the publisher that will publish the book just as we have a lot of books authored by Nigerians but published by Indians. On no account should a lecturer be the one to publish and at the same time market or sell the books. The only thing the lecturer can do is to take some copies of the book to the School Library as his donation. Students can read from the library and not to impose the textbooks on them.

    “On the sale of handouts, it has been there from time immemorial that lecturers are not supposed to sell handouts, when you prepare handout on your course, students can pay to photocopy it and such payment is not supposed to be made to the lecturer but to the class captain, who goes to make the photocopies and distribute copies of the handouts to those who paid for them.

    “In view of the following, Kaduna Polytechnic is introducing Academic Quality Assurance and Collaboration Unit to take care of these anomalies in the institution. With this, we are going to have, for every department and every programme, academic quality officers who will checkmate the activities of lecturers. Theirs is to make sure that every lecturer attends lecture, gives out note for his lecture free of charge, and conducts two continuous assessments before examinations and they must be marked minimum of two weeks before the examination.”

    According to the Rector, every lecturer should take attendance for every lecture they conduct, there is also a provision for the lecturer to sign, and both the lecturer and class captain will have copy of the attendance.

    Continuing, he said: “At the end of the day, we will have a kind of competition among lecturers where the students too will participate by assessing the lecturers and give report to the unit without the lecturers’ knowledge. From there, we can get the best three lecturers in every department and we shall give prizes. These are all aimed at encouraging efficient service delivery.

    “For the female students who are susceptible to harassment from male lecturers, we find a way to give them protection and encourage them to disengage any unwholesome relationship they are having with their lecturers.”

    Also, the spokesman for the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Jacob Abang said it is an offence for any lecturer to coerce students into buying handouts or books, adding that all schools have put in place internal monitoring mechanisms to discourage illegal behaviours.
    Culled from DailyTrust.

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