By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim
There is an age long claim that educational institutions, from elementary to tertiary levels, award certificates based on how one distinguishes self in both learning and character.
Perhaps, it is on this ground that every educational institution in Nigeria is boastful of inculcating both character and learning, most especially, at tertiary level.
It is well-known or assumed that the purpose of being in a university, polytechnic, monotechnique, college and what have you does not stop at learning alone but also to acquire good moral characters. This is repeatedly said by scholars in both educational palance and the secular society that we live.
However, the state of our institutions today makes one to wonder if they actually play that role of inculcating the virtues of character and learning as they were known for in the past. It seems those institutions have now become a mere learning institution or a forum for both national and international knowledge seekers as others are fond of saying.
One of the reasons may not be unconnected with the behaviours of students in most of the tertiary institutions which negates the purpose to which they were admitted for, character and learning, not to even talk of religious, cultural and moral values as embedded in our society.
It is now known to everyone who have been to some of the prominent Nigerian universities, polytechnics most especially those located in outskirts that decency in dressing is rarely practiced by all students.
It is sad that decency has eroded in most of our tertiary institutions, even to the glaring of the management of such institutions in such a way that some students do not only refuse to dress based on the said and known good values but in total disregard to the institution’s dress code which keeps many to wonder whether mode of dressing is part of good characters in tertiary institutions or not.
It is equally sad that it is in a Nigerian university, you will see a female student wearing a shirt that is armless, a vest like shirt, a tight dress with her head uncovered.
Apart from all these, we are aware of several cases of sexual abuses or sexual harassment rocking Nigerian universities. For instance, in 2019 alone, around July, there was a case of 100 level student who was allegedly raped and infected with HIV/AIDS by a Nigerian university lecturer, daily trust online reported. This was indeed a big shame to the educational sector.
Recently, in October, an ex-student of a university in Nigeria demanded the prosecution of her former lecturer on a similar alleged sexual abuse. She alleged that the lecturer severally abused her sexually while she was an undergraduate. This was contained in a video obtained by Channels Television. Wikki times reported in details.
The sad of all is that, the highest punishment the university management and the vice chancellor could do was to only sack and suspended those lecturers, which I opine should have gone beyond that.
For the Nigerian tertiary institutions to regain their lost glory, it is high time that the managements of such institutions strive hard to instill sanity on students’ behaviours by regulating their mode of dressing to curb such immorality.
Worrisome is also the I don’t care attitude of some parents towards the moral behaviour of their children. It should be known that it is not the sole responsibility of tertiary institutions to instill moral discipline in these young ones, both staffs, religious leaders and other constituted authorities in that domain, community have a role to play in reducing the immorality rate.
Notwithstanding, parent should not just send their children to school only but should check on them from time to time more especially those in far away states.
The society is aware of the influence of peer group on a child. With the advancement in information technology, with smart phone, one can get connected to the internet and get exposed to many sites that can polute his mind.
This trend if not checked on time may lead to degeneration of moral decadence on the part of the students and the society which will lead to wide spread of immorality while on the other hand, those universities as prominent learning institutions in Nigeria will have bad image.
Also, it would make people to desert those institutions. No sensible person will take his child most especially female to those universities again. When these begin to happen, the number of students enrollment in such institutions will decrease thereby increasing the level of illiteracy among younger generation.
Worthy of note is that, in some of our places, one of the major reasons for low female enrollment in tertiary institutions is the moral decay, but educationists are making efforts to convince parents to enroll their children in tertiary institutions without addressing those issues. Going by this, it is doubtful if the level of female enrollment into higher institutions will increase.
It is therefore, high time that, Vice chancellors, Rectors and provosts of various tertiary institutions take necessary measures against these dirty acts as being witnessed in many Nigerian tertiary institutions before the situation gets out of control. Allowing such to continue is a great threat to sound moral education in northern Nigeria.
Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim can be reached at [email protected]