By Bello Orwell
One issue that has been trending and disturbing so many emotions in the ABU cyberspace within the past couple of days is the screenshot of lamentation by a student, one Sadiq Abdulrahman Ahmad who has overstayed in ABU, after spilling and splashing for too many extra years, he was able to eventually graduate.
However, his joy was brutally truncated when his name was dropped from the graduating list of his department. He has attributed this terrible development to Professor Kabiru Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, with the assumption that the VC brought a new policy that now denies students who have overstayed graduation.
By the way, it is important to note that this is not a new regulation. The university has always had a rule that students who fail to graduate during the period stipulated for their course are given additional years to complete their studies and pass their courses.
For students studying four-year courses, additional two years are added, while students studying five or six-year courses have additional three years. If these extra years elapse while the student is unable to graduate he is withdrawn from the university.
This regulation is contained in the University Undergraduate Handbook that is issued to every new student before or during matriculation.
Perhaps in the past, these regulations and many others have not been strictly adhered to, but today the university has flipped into a new page and a new era of due process, due diligence, and strict compliance with every letter of the university laws.
There is certainly no doubt that this new disposition will propel the university on the path to progress, to stand tall and proud among her peers here in Nigeria and the rest of the world.
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While to many of us, this is the ideal path. There are however existing realities and circumstances that must be taken into account in implementing any radical reform anywhere.
While two or three extra years is fair enough to spill over and graduate, one may not know that certain exceptionally difficult and insurmountable circumstances may force a student to exceed this limit. The university should be generous enough to give him more time.
But on a lighter note, I personally don’t like the idea of wasting too much time in school. I feel that if your brain is not hot enough for books, God must have designed something better somewhere for you to make it and shake the world.
If school turns out to be too difficult and impossible I support and encourage the idea that one should drop out and do something more fulfilling with his precious time.
Fortunately today, the IT world is replete with stories of great men who had to drop out of the university to develop innovations that have come to redefine the new civilization. Find out more about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Apple’s Steve Jobs.
These guys might not have been forced out of the university by poor academic performance, but they certainly dropped out to pursue greater courses that have turned out to be of greater benefit to mankind than millions of paper university degrees.
While it is important to acknowledge that Professor Kabiru Bala has an obligation to uphold academic excellence, it is also necessary to plead for compromise. And I think that is the dilemma of Sadiq and many other students in his shoes.
These students are excited that after several difficult years, they have finally graduated though they have overstayed.
This is where compromise and clemency should come into play. If not for anything, for the simple sympathy that these students have gone through enormous emotional and financial stress to reach the stage of graduation.
In the future, students who have overstayed in the university should not be allowed to continue staying to the point of graduation. The university should not allow Sadiq and his likes to graduate.
They should withdraw early enough so that they may go for other alternative paths to life and career that may not necessarily be within the walls of a university or school.
In the end, I plead with the university authority to make a compassionate and sympathetic compromise to allow these overstayed students who have graduated to go home with their degrees.
On the other hand, these students should understand that this is not a right, in fact, they are not entitled to anything once their tenure expires in the university.
- Bello is an Abusite, writes from Zaria. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org