NUC, don’t re­store pass de­gree

Daily Trust - - OPINION -

The Na­tional Uni­ver­si­ties Com­mis­sion (NUC) re­cently or­dered vice chan­cel­lors of uni­ver­si­ties in Nige­ria to re­view the ex­ist­ing sys­tem of grad­ing grad­u­at­ing stu­dents. It said the re­view’s pur­pose is “ar­riv­ing at a gen­er­ally ac­cept­able and uni­form method of com­put­ing Cu­mu­la­tive Grade Point Av­er­age (CGPA)” in the Nige­rian univer­sity sys­tem.

NUC’s Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Prof. Julius Oko­jie made the an­nounce­ment at a re­cent work­shop in Abuja on re­view of grad­ing sys­tem in Nige­rian uni­ver­si­ties. He said it had be­come wor­ri­some that most uni­ver­si­ties were de­rail­ing from the orig­i­nal aca­demic tra­di­tions that guar­an­teed high qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion in the coun­try. Ac­cord­ing to Oko­jie, while some dis­ci­plines use the 6-grade points of 5,4,3,2,1 and 0 for let­ter grades A,B,C,D,E and F, oth­ers have re­moved the E grade to pro­duce a 5-grade points of 5,4,3,2, and 0 rep­re­sent­ing let­ter grades of A,B,C,D and F.

It would be re­called that NUC had in a cir­cu­lar to Nige­rian uni­ver­si­ties in De­cem­ber 2012 an­nounced the abo­li­tion of pass de­gree. It di­rected vice chan­cel­lors to im­ple­ment the 5-points sys­tem of grad­ing. Al­though some uni­ver­si­ties de­layed the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new grad­ing sys­tem, the be­gin­ning of the 2014/2015 ses­sion was used by vice chan­cel­lors of some uni­ver­si­ties to re­it­er­ate their com­mit­ment to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 5-grade clas­si­fi­ca­tion of de­grees.

Since uni­ver­si­ties have ac­tu­ally started im­ple­ment­ing the new grad­ing pol­icy, it ap­pears in­con­gru­ous that NUC which gave a direc­tive to that ef­fect is now call­ing for a re­view of the same pol­icy when its im­ple­men­ta­tion is yet to fully ma­ture in the uni­ver­si­ties. What, per­haps, is re­quired now is not a re­view but an eval­u­a­tion of the im­ple­men­ta­tion process with a view to know­ing whether the pol­icy is serv­ing the pur­pose it is de­signed for. Any at­tempt to go back to the old sys­tem of 6-grade should be re­sisted by the uni­ver­si­ties as it en­cour­ages lazi­ness among stu­dents.

The old 6-point grad­ing sys­tem that ob­tained in uni­ver­si­ties was in the or­der of: First Class Divi­sion cat­e­go­rized as ‘A’ rep­re­sent­ing raw scores in the range of 70-100 per­cent with a cu­mu­la­tive Grade Point Av­er­age (CGPA) of 4.50-5.00; Sec­ond Class Up­per Divi­sion cat­e­go­rized as ‘B’ rep­re­sent­ing raw scores in the range of 60-69 per­cent with a CGPA of 3.50-4.49; Sec­ond Class Lower Divi­sion cat­e­go­rized as ‘C’ rep­re­sent­ing raw scores in the range of 50-59 per­cent with a CGPA of 2.50-3.49; Third Class Divi­sion cat­e­go­rized as ‘D’ rep­re­sent­ing raw scores in the range of 45-49 per­cent with a CGPA of 1.50-2.49; and Pass de­gree cat­e­go­rized as ‘E’ rep­re­sent­ing raw scores in the range of 40-44 per­cent with a CGPA of 1.00-1.49.

By the pro­vi­sions of the 5-point grad­ing regime, the least cat­e­gory of pass pre­vi­ously called ‘pass de­gree’ and graded as ‘E’ rep­re­sent­ing raw scores in the range of 40-44 per­cent with a CGPA of 1.00-1.50 ceases to ex­ist; mean­ing that the pass mark in ev­ery course now be­gins from 45 per­cent. One im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment to note in the new grad­ing regime is that the least CGPA re­quired for a stu­dent to re­main in any univer­sity aca­demic pro­gramme is hence­forth 1.50 in­stead of 1.00 that it used to be. A stu­dent whose CGPA falls be­low 1.50 shall be ad­vised to either change his course of study or with­draw from the univer­sity.

The 5-point grad­ing sys­tem is a laud­able pol­icy as it prompts stu­dents to work harder to cross the bar which has been raised from 40 to 45 per­cent. The qual­ity of the worst per­form­ing stu­dents in the uni­ver­si­ties should be en­hanced by this ini­tia­tive. Be­sides, the pass de­gree has over the years has been treated with dis­dain by em­ploy­ers of labour. Abol­ish­ing the grade will there­fore make stu­dents to sit up to face the chal­lenges of their stud­ies. If some dis­ci­plines in some uni­ver­si­ties are re­fus­ing to com­ply with the pol­icy direc­tive on the new grad­ing sys­tem, the so­lu­tion is not in a re­view of the new grad­ing sys­tem. Rather, it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the mon­i­tor­ing depart­ment of NUC to en­sure that uni­ver­si­ties with is­sues of non-im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pol­icy are made to com­ply.

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