Random Yarns: Forgetful Ma’am & 1a.m. Exams

The relief that envelopes you right after your final examination is one I felt last week, before succumbing to illness. It was a gruelling first semester but then, what semester/term/year isn’t to a student? It’s part of the package.

Next session’s first semester will however be ever so gruelling for one student here though, after what transpired between her and a lecturer with her answer script during an exam. I was writing my “Topics in Phonology” exam that day; and all exams in phonology courses have a history of being b****y, brain-frying, basilisk brickwalls, and we (Linguistics majors) had been put in the same class with folks from the Performing Arts.

The usual consultations, enquiries, neck exercises and next-generation vision testing went on (from them), covertly and overtly, depending on the presence of the invigilator(s) in every sense of the word presence… as you have those invigilator(s) who never know students are busy in consultations right in their… presence… anyway, thanks to our lecturer’s resolution to resetting our sitting formation, spending an hour doing so, the PFA students started well before we did and thus, finished well before we did, naturally.

And when one of the PFA students was done, she was making for the next class where her lecturer was so she’d submit to him when our Phonology lecturer, overseeing invigilation of our class (much to everyone’s derision I presume) called her back.

“Where are you going?” he asked the almajira. She tried ‘explaining’, with a bit of a face, that her lecturer was in the next class and… “Don’t you know you cannot take an answer script outside the exam centre?” the good Dr. of sound inventories asked, cutting her off.

An exasperated pout was her response. Hijab wearing muslima with attitude versus an obey-rules-to-the-letter (even punctuation where applicable) lecturer and the episode was happening right beside me. What do you think I did? Left my exam and shifted my attention to their drama of course. I’ve poor exam ethics, the worst. But that’s another tale.

After schooling her on examination regulations which she ‘should know being a 400 level student’, he asked her to submit her script with him after which she proceeded to the next class to sign out. At least I hope that’s what she did for that could be her saving grace.

Why? Soon as she was out of the class, the good Dr. displayed the answer script to us. Apparently, she hadn’t written her matric. number, the course title or code… not even the day’s date. She’d left the front page absolutely blank, along with a very poor first impression for her top floor. Hopefully she would have been alerted to her pseudo-amnesia by her colleagues, that’s if they hadn’t become too engrossed in their consultations to remember the episode after submitting their paper.

Worse impressions have been made in this dear University of Ilorin, and none I fear could outdo the one left by the good folks at the CBT Centre who, for God knows why, had students sitting for an examination at 1a.m.

Not every department/faculty is inclined to giving its students CBTs (Computer Based Tests) and other than Science students, what only brings a student (from the Arts Faculty for instance) to the CBT Centre through their time in school is to click their GNS and (if a 300 level student) their GSE examinations, both of which are courses done by every student.

The Centre usually opens for either of these exams at 8a.m, with students being sorted alphabetically by faculty, then department. So students from ABSS Faculty (Biz Admin in general parlance) get to the centre first, then Arts from 10a.m and so on.

Imagine then a student from the Education Faculty, who should have clicked their GNS exam on Thursday afternoon doing so at 1a.m on Friday morning instead and it gets better, this same student along with others had another exam for 8:30a.m that fateful Friday morning. Was it postponed? Of course not. They had to write their exam with soaking red eyes in their respective exam halls that morning.

They however could have missed their morning paper altogether if the school’s senate has not intervened and asked for the exams at the CBT Centre be put off till another date. Yes, the intention was to complete the roster of faculties overnight, into the morning.

Each batch of students spent more than two hours in the Centre for an exam that usually takes 45 minutes at most… why? And why would the examiners decide still to go ahead with other batches of students despite the ludicrous timing?

As usual with these sort of happenings, “word” began to go round and one had it that a new, and cheaper contractor was handling the CBT exams but weren’t capable as the last, more expensive contractor apparently, with the latter later called in to save the new contractors blushes.

Whatever the real problem was, previous years have generally been hassle free, safe for individual’s who encounter faulty computers or click what they shouldn’t; there’s always the temptation to check the internet or get playing pinball or solitaire… “He that is in me… ”

I could only feel sorry for the students, including a number of friends, who lived through this harrowing experience, a huge let down so soon into the tenure of Prof. Ambali as vice Chancellor and one would hope appropriate steps would be taken to prevent future occurence.

On a much lighter mood, days earlier I was walking a friend off and we came upon quite a sight involving two young women, two vehicles and three, possibly four men.

The young women had alighted from one of the vehicles, a decent Nissan sedan in which two young men sat in the front seats and, deaf to both calling them back, got into a Chrysler 300 that had just parked right in front of the Nissan.

Yes, they got out of the Nissan, turned deaf on the Nissan boys calling them back, and got into the Chrysler which then drove off, without any haste whatsoever.

I shook hands with this friend of mine, prayed to God almighty for the safety of my dignity and the coming of my ‘tear-rubber’ Range Rover, and made my way back to my room.

Happy valentine’s day in advance.

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