Saturday, November 26

Accessing Grades and Lecturer Absenteeism at the UTG

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I remember when she first told me about her plans to attend the University of The Gambia after completing her grade twelve exams. After she received her results, she immediately took a picture and sent it to me. Happy for her, I called her, and we spoke about her dream of going to university, and even on the phone, her excitement was palpable.

I was so proud of her because I know how hard she worked for her those grades. Being accepted at UTG was the culmination of all her hard work and a giant step towards realizing her dreams. Sadly, like many of her fellow students, UTG is turning into a nightmare of sorts for her. And that’s because lecturers don’t only fail to show up. Many don’t even have the decency to inform their students that they’ll not be coming to class. This young lady spends her little money on the fare to get to school, or somewhere she can access her classes, only to sit and wait in vain because the wonderful lecturer has better things to do.

I thought UTG lecturer absenteeism was terrible until I wrote about it on my Facebook, and I was bombarded with messages from other students complaining about their grades. One brilliant young man said until recently, he would have had to repeat two classes, not because he failed the classes, but because lecturers somehow never entered his grades!

Another indicated that he lost out on two scholarship opportunities because his final grades were not entered into the UTG system. Madi Jobarteh lamented that his daughter had similar challenges with her grades, and even after he stepped in, it was extremely difficult to have access to the official grades.

Several other students also wrote to me with similar problems.

It is quite amazing to force students to repeat classes simply because some lecturer didn’t enter their grades in a portal. Imagine sitting to an exam, passing the exam, but somehow, you can’t lay hands on your grades. And if these grades are what you need to apply for scholarships or seek other opportunities, you’re doomed because getting some lecturers to enter these grades is like pulling teeth.

Certainly, we cannot be that disregardful of our students. I’m sure not a single administrator or lecturer will tolerate that if it were their child. What does it say about anyone to treat another’s child in a way you’ll not allow anyone else to treat your own. UTG can and should do better for our students.

Lecturers should have some modicum of respect for their students. But even if they cannot afford that, at least have some sympathy and think about the young lady that lives far away from UTG, that travels all the way to school or elsewhere to access their class, only for you not to show up.

And then you didn’t even have the courtesy to let them know ahead of time. Surely, as good Muslims and Christians, we can do better. The students certainly deserve better.

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