By Sulaiman Nasiru 

At a time when the country is filled with graduates amongst which are alarming first class students of 4,071 in the past 2 years, it has made it pretty much difficult for the labour market to favor the graduates. First class in degree is no longer news. As of 2019 to 2021, Nigerian universities graduated 189,353 students amongst which are 4,071 first class graduates.       

Only less than half of these first class graduates can actually defend their results while the rest cannot present themselves as first class graduates to the world. 

It is essential that more focus is given to the grading system of Nigeria tertiary institution, compared to the past years, education has really been made easy in developed and some developing countries, Nigeria inclusive. Nigeria is now producing an unusual number of first class graduates, which is to some extent reducing the worth and value of degree(s) in the country in many fields of study. some of these said to be first class graduates cannot defend their results or apply it in their fields.

Education is improving all over the world, especially in the modern technological era and this has made most educational activities much more easier than the early days.Students now have the luxury of studying without stress or difficulties through the provision of infrastructures, pdf books, online libraries, YouTube tutorials, online classes and movies acted from books. They now have their phones, computer ipad and wifi which is almost as if they are walking with a library or schools of great minds(lecturers and professor) in their pockets. 

Some novels students are supposed to read for weeks or days for analysis or criticism as a class assignment are now acted as movies and students can watch a two weeks book in 2hrs as a movie and still analyze the book perfectly. 
All of these have soften the grounds of acquiring knowledge for students in most countries, especially Nigeria, which is why we are having an alarming growth in number of incompetent first class graduates compared to the past years when only geniuses and extremely good students make it to second class upper, let alone first class.                                                               
Some of the first class students are nothing close to geniuses or sound intellect, rather they are good at cramming and offering “garbage in and garbage out” Which is why they cannot apply a solution to a given problem. 
While some student strive hard to work on their assignments and projects, others hire the services of professionals to do it for them, and they will be appreciated for the effort of others because they didn’t have a room to defend their project or assignment.     

Some students share their opinions and experiences regarding this:

Evelyn, a final year student of university of Ilorin said “These lecturers now make a living by selling marks and most students too will gladly accept to pay and making others who work day and night to graduate with a first class look like fools for working the way they do. There’s this saying amongst students that “na mumu dey read” and another one in Yoruba ” eni ti o mo way lo mo iwe” meaning He that knows the way is the brilliant one which I find very funny. They even go as far as asking students for sex and even threatening them.These students that graduate using all these means with a first class honour cannot defend their results because they didn’t work for it, most of them never read for any exam so how can they defend their results”.

Maimuna Haruna, a graduate of Kebbi state University lamented that “first class is just a thing of personal satisfaction and determination, either with understanding or not. Cramming helps a lot to go a long way as to achieving their goals of acquiring first class grade and yet can not do better than the second class students.”

It is very necessary to introduce new tactics into the assessment process in order to tackle this mediocre in some of the said best graduating students in the Nigerian universities. 

Introducing new grade like FIRST CLASS UPPER 6.00 (CGPA) or class that shows exceptional standard in students and all students who get to acquire such level of grades, must face a Standard board or Committee of Professors to defend their results, something similar to the law school to pass the bar, these students should have better opportunities and consideration than the rest in the labour market.

Furthermore, Introduction of practical projects for all final year students, which has nothing less than perfection or a breakthrough, this should then help the student to step up to the new grade of FIRST CLASS UPPER of 6.00 CGPA or get dropped to first class grade.They should be allowed to present a practical solution within their field to a current problem that will bring about development in the country.

“The changing economic situation, the changing global market means it is understandable that employers are constantly raising the bar. It is challenging the education system to come up with ever higher standards to meet the expectation of employers”Jim Knight. 

Certificates without values, as useful as it is, seem rather to make the holder a more clever devil and problem to the society.

Sulaiman Nasiru is of the Department of Mass Communication, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily