Due to backlash from Nigerians, the Department of English of Benue State University has cancelled one of its first semester final year examination paper for the 2020/2021 session over the ‘cheapness’ of the examination questions.
The code of the course in question, whose examination was meant to last for three hours, is ENG 405 (English for Specific Purposes) and it is a three-credit course. Many students, scholars and professors – in and outside the country – have reacted to the action by the department.
Some opined that the questions were simple to the extent a first-year English student could correctly answer them within an hour.
One of the people who critised the department was Moses Ochonu, a Professor of African Studies at the Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States.
Ochonu lamented that this is one of the reasons everyone is graduating with a First Class nowadays, and that the lecturer who set the questions is a member of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), protected by and enjoying the perks of its centrally negotiated contract.
“ASUU will tell you that it is only government neglect that is killing university education,” Ochonu said, adding that “You won’t hear anything from them on these types of scandalously poor teaching/teachers.”
Another person, Iorkegh Donatus, stressed that there is something fundamentally wrong somewhere, that he was a graduate of the department. “I can vouch for their thoroughness. We have very great ambassadors of the department including Su’eddie, who was the finalist in this year’s NLNG Prize,” Donatus said.
“I am happy that the Head of Department has moved swiftly by cancelling the paper.” The Head of the English Department, Professor Moses Tsenongu − in a memo dated 16th of December and seen by Sunday Tribune − apologised to the university community for the embarrassing academic incompetence in the course, taking responsibility for the letdown. Tsenongu admitted that the incident has taught him to pay equal attention to the performance of all staff, regardless of rank.
“The perpetrator of this shameful act will be appropriately sanctioned,” the memo reads, adding that “Adequate measures have been put in place to forestall a repeat of this sad occurrence.”