Posted by News Express | 16 July 2016 | 8,101 times
Dr. Ayobami Ojebode is the Acting Head, Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. He got his Ph.D. at the University of Ibadan in 2002, but has been an academic staff since February, 2000. The first 11 to 12 years of his career have been spent on research, and then the other half on all the other things added up. “I am married to a woman from Benue State and I also speak Tiv Language at least just well enough to confuse you,” he said. In this exclusive interview with Dr. Ojebode, he tells how some graduating students emerge with First Class degrees.
Question: We want to congratulate you for the achievement recorded in your time as the HOD. Three of your graduating students recently bagged first class degree. What has changed? Has the standard been lowered?
Dr. Ayobami Ojebode: Well, thank you very much for congratulating us on the achievement of our students. We are very proud of them and delighted that they are having this first class.
In the 2014/2015 session, three of our students had first class in a class of 56 students. Two years before, that is, 2012/2013 two students also had first class, one in the regular platform and the other on the Distance Learning Centre (DLC) platform. It is quite significant because when you add all of them together, in the first 37 years of existence, the Department produced just one first class product and that is the current Director General of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Mr. Sola Omole. And we are talking of five First Classes within three years. So your question is not out of order on what has changed.
I would say just two things. Nothing really has changed. First, for you to get a First Class, it is a collaboration with several departments. Our students took our courses and they did exceptionally well. They also did well in all the other departments. Their First Class is a first class degree of the Faculty of Arts and not of the Department of Communication and Language Arts alone.
You need to see their transcripts, because they went to nearly all the Departments in the Faculty and they also did exceptionally well. So, this means our judgment of them is also the same judgment that others have of them. So, as we congratulate ourselves, it is also not out of place to congratulate other departments because we worked together to bring out the excellence in this people.
The second thing I would say is that, nothing really has changed. First Class begins from 6.0 and I have been here for 16 years and, each year, you have people with CGPA of 5.9, 5.8 and 5.93. You know, 5.93 is short of first class by 0.02. So, we have had these very near misses. Maybe, tens of them. We don’t want to mention names. They almost made it. 5.9, 5.8 and 5.93 would be First Class if it could move to 5.95 and that would be approximately 6.0 and that is a very close shave so to say.
So, 5.9 people to me are in the very rough category with this people in the first class. It is just that somehow, it did not happen. I don’t want to say that luck was not on their side. If we have first class it is not that the department sat down and said let us be throwing mark out so that we can have first class or let us ensure that people pass, even when they fail. As these ones are having first class, there are also people having third class, there is pass and there is FNG (Final year Not Graduating). So nothing has really changed.
What do you think was the reason for the span in time, after the record by Sola Omole now we have five people in five years? Is it the lecturer or the marking scheme that has made it so difficult for students to get first class?
I wouldn’t say so. I wouldn’t say it is the lecturer or marking scheme.
We often hear students say lecturers in CLA are wicked, that they will never take CLA courses.
What is your take sir?
People can say whatever they want to say, but now that the myth has been busted, it is rubbish. It is just that people have a way of creating myth around everything. I have thought about it too, but the truth of the matter is that, I think in the GPA days, there is a limit to the number of units that will be used to calculate your GP. So, you can have 70 here and there and those 70’s would not be used for one reason or the other because, the units in that category are excessive. So, they have to drop some units. They must pick only 120 units for you as a 4 years degree student. So, they have to select all your compulsory courses, select all your required courses and then the best of the electives. If you have the excessive units there, even if you have 70 on those excessive units, the units would not be used so they do not contribute to your GPA.
Then, the University adopted the CGPA system which allows you to take as many units as you want and every unit counts. So, if you are good, the department cannot say we are selecting this number of courses and we are not selecting that course in calculating your grade. No! Everything adds up. If you are bad, that is to your own disadvantage and if you are good, it is to your own advantage.
And so, the whole idea of giving people First Class to me does not exist because people earn their First Class. We do not give first class and that is the point we have been trying to make in the past. We do not give people first class. Students earn their first class or whatever class they get.
What you are saying in essence now is that the CGPA is more preferable to GPA?
Yes, I think.
What would be your general advice to students yearning to have first class in their academic endeavour?
Well, the advice is already out there. I mean the fact that in a class of 56 students, three people made First Class means that first class is not meant for gods but it is meant for mortals and it is not even meant for perfect mortals because, such does not exist. So, I think my advice to them is to work hard, aim high and impossibilities is nothing.
•Photo shows UI main gate.
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