One of the most tedious and horrendous experiences of many Nigerian graduates is getting their transcripts from the universities (federal and state-owned universities, especially) they graduated from. From the frustrating procedures involved to the many palms graduates have claimed they had to grease, to the long period of time they had to wait, and the hostile workers they had to meet, getting one’s transcript from a public university is like going through the needle’s eye.
Many graduates have lost life-changing opportunities, scholarships, and jobs because the universities refused to either process their transcripts, failed to process it in time, or sent the wrong documents.
My school sent an empty transcript for me, no grades were imputed and somebody signed it to be sent abroad. I lost the admission.
Fast forward 2 years later, it took them from may to October and 4 different visits to the university to prepare another one.
— AFROLILY (@itualilian) April 5, 2021
I have lost 2 scholarships to this.
— Aro Joseph Kayode (@joceemycin) May 18, 2021
Many graduates have had to wait for 6 months or more just to get their transcripts. In a bid to process their transcripts faster, some have been duped in the process. Some have also lost their lives.
Recently, Ayobami shared how his cousin who traveled to Abuja to get her transcript was found dead in a gutter.
I lost a cousin yesterday, and it’s emblematic of the state of the country. Why do graduates need to travel all the way for transcript? She traveled to Abuja for her transcript and was found dead in a gutter. So sad.
— $AYOBAMI (@dondekojo) May 23, 2021
This is tragic and heartbreaking and I feel a deep sense of loss that a promising young lady will be so gruesomely murdered.
I commiserate with her immediate family, her friends colleagues and all the people of my constituency.
— Hon. Olajide Olatubosun, FCA (@Jide_Olatubosun) May 23, 2021
Having to be physically present in your (former) university to get your transcript is a reflection of the many things that are still backward in our educational system, unnecessarily exacting, and inimical to many citizens. We are in 2021 and if we are being frank, the hassle people go through to get their transcripts from Nigerian universities is absolutely unnecessary and avoidable. We don’t always have to struggle and suffer to get the littlest of things.
This is also reflective of our inability to grow with time, innovate and fully incorporate technology into our educational system. In a world where technology is being used to ease all processes, there is no need to be physically present to get one’s transcript. People should be able to register for it online, make payments with their credit cards, and have their transcripts sent to them or to the school they are applying to.
We also live in very insecure times; our roads are riddled with kidnappers and bandits, and people are being murdered on a daily basis. Have these universities considered, for once, that it is very unsafe to ask someone to travel from one state to another just to get their transcript?
This problem has been persistent for long and for many years, Nigerian graduates have complained about their inability to get their transcripts, so why have these processes not been reviewed and changed? How can we bring an end to this?
What Can We Do About It?
To start with, digitalise all procedures. You see those hefty files we see splattered all over the secretary to the dean or HOD’s desk? They are so not necessary. So many times, students’ files have gone missing and the student has been left to deal with the aftermath – which could be rewriting an examination, having an extra year or years, or being forced to leave school – depending on the kind of file that got missing. This would not happen if we made all academic processes digital.
Let’s start from the registration processes; there is no need to start running after the dean of student affairs for days just to sign a course form or have to queue under the sun for hours to buy a library card. Let all procedures be digitalised. Let the students buy their forms online, do their registration online, select their courses online, apply for extra-curriculum activities online. The only time they get to meet the dean or HOD for anything should be when it is extremely important and necessary.
This way, you not only reduce the workload on the non-academic staff
so that they will stop pouring their frustrations on the students, but you will also have a digital database of all students – past and present – and their activities. When, in future, you need to pull up a student’s academic record, it will be made possible with a click of the mouse. An already-tired worker shouldn’t have to look through piles of dusty files that have turned brown over the years, and are already tearing at the edges for a student’s record – it is unfair to both the student and the worker. See, we don’t have to complicate issues so people can know we are working; technology is here to make life easier for us, let’s harness it.
Universities should also give students their transcripts as they leave school. This will be made possible if all procedures have been digitalised over time. Students who are interested should be able to apply for their transcripts in their final year and get it as they graduate. This will save graduates the stress of applying for their transcripts years later.
The Ministry of Education and the NUC should also make it mandatory for every university (especially in the public sector) to have a functional online portal where students can apply for their transcript, make payments, and get it within 14 working days. Many online transcript-collection services are not functional and people have complained that they did not receive their transcripts months after applying and making payments, and they have had to go to their schools to process it themselves. Getting a functional portal for this is not rocket science.
In doing all this, we also have to fight corruption. For many schools and staff, transcript-collection is a money-making venture for them. Some people pay as high as 100k – which is not the official fee – just to collect their transcript in time; you will have to pay the secretary in this office and then pay another secretary in that office. Failure to pay and you will continue to perambulate the school premises for months while your transcript snoozes gently in a particular office.
Many Nigerian youths are already stunted by a system that has refused to innovate itself, we can’t let this continue for long. In making life difficult for our graduates, we are in turn stunting the growth of the country. Unhappy youths cannot pour back into the nation.