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Nigerian Undergraduates Battle Avoidable Hazards of Missing Scripts

As a new student at the Osun State Polytechnic (OSPOLY), Bisola Ayanshola, 20, was informed that results for the previous year’s examinations were out. She left her room to a notice board where results had been displayed at the Mass Communication department.

Bisola was awed after realising she had failed two courses woefully. She knew immediately that something was wrong with her results. She first complained to the department but was asked to meet the lecturer, who told her that her exam script was missing. 

It was the first time she would encounter such an academic problem. The lecturer told Bisola she would have to retake the course, denying her the right to look for her missing script. Now, two of her exam scripts were missing for reasons certainly unclear to her.

“The missing scripts have degraded my academic zeal, affecting my mental health negatively and causing a drastic reduction of my cumulative grade point average (CGPA) from 3.24 to 3.14,” she lamented, noting that she has now lost interest in her studies because her scripts went missing twice in a year. “My father has threatened not to further my education If I have any more missing scripts and this isn’t my fault.”

Bisola is not alone in the battle with the missing script woes; Ukwuigwe Chinedum, a 400-level Mass Communication student at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, found his way into the pit of the mess. He had a missing script case during his first year, causing a spillover later in his academic journey.

“It took me so long to detect these missing scripts because I didn’t check my results earlier,” Ukwuigwe recalled. “I haven’t gone back to the lecturer; she rarely comes to school since she stays in another state. I tried to meet her throughout the 1st semester of the 300-level but failed.”

He wasn’t lucky to get a waiver for the missing scripts. A few students who had similar issues were allowed to retake the exams as fresh courses to avoid unnecessary carryovers.

Ukwuigwe was shocked when he finally realised why his exam scripts were missing: the lecturer had accused him of not complying with assignments. He accused those handling his missing script case of mediocrity in the administrative setting.

“I will have to rewrite the course in my 400 level or they would waive it for me when I want to do clearance since it’s a department course but often,  UNIZIK does not waive faculty courses,” he told Campus Reporter.

A similar thing happened to Amina Ibrahim, a 400-level student of Science and Vocational Education at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. She had a missing script for a test she took in General Physiology, during her 300-level.

“It started when they released our test results and everyone was happy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see mine.  I went to the lecturer’s office to complain; she first thought I didn’t do the test until she checked her records,” Amina said.

She was happy thinking the case was over since the lecturer confirmed she had done the test, but she was wrong. She has not been able to set her eyes on the lecturer since then and the issue has not been resolved.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, students in several Nigerian higher institutions face difficulties in their academic journey over avoidable cases of missing scripts. The students mostly bear the brunt of mediocrity from lecturers and officials handling such cases. According to a survey conducted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, several factors contribute to cases of missing scripts affecting students’ sojourn, including carelessness and deliberate wickedness of some lecturers, and students deliberately hiding their scripts when they are not prepared for the examination.

The study states that missing script cases have different consequences, such as emotional and psychological stress, consenting to amoral advances from lecturers, loss of good grades and repetition of class and economic losses.

Another survey conducted across universities in Benue state revealed that the incidence of missing scores could arise when students do not follow instructions to indicate their individual information correctly and also due to the careless attitude of lecturers during marking and scoring of scripts among other factors.

Ishola Lamidi, a lecturer at the Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba in Ondo state, told Campus Reporter that missing script cases often happen in large exam halls or where two different exams are taking place at the same time.

Lamidi said some scripts end up in the wrong places, especially when students hurriedly drop them. He added that in such cases, it takes a diligent invigilator to cross-check so that students’ scripts would not no go missing.

He advised that examiners should always endeavour to check the number of students and make sure it tallies with the number of papers submitted. He also tasked them to make sure the students were not rowdy while submitting their scripts.

He added that lecturers should carefully mark students’ scripts to be sure they don’t end up misplacing papers.

This story was funded by the Campus Reporter project of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID).

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