Enough! How on earth will you be toying with people’s future, career progression and success stories? How do you manage to sleep at night knowing full well you just wrecked the ‘can-do-spirit’ of a diligent, highly-spirited and future-oriented Nigerian Law School Student? How on earth do you manage to pray (to God) to secure the future of your own children when you have been busy wrecking that of other people’s children?
The above and many more questions permeated my seemly frail mind as a friend of mine, who made a very outstanding grade in his undergraduate law degree and also finished with as the Best Student Graduating Student in his set, several awards as well as scholarships, told me of his result at the Nigerian Law School. In the news, my friend who made four (4) A Grades and one (1) B just graduated with a 2:2; thanks to the Nigerian Law School!
While having been told severally in different quarters and ‘informally,’ how ominous and retrogressive the Nigerian Law School Grading System is – that students were graded solely on the basis of their lowest grades while no recourse is made to the very fine and impressive outstanding grades, I still struggled to believe what my friend told me, until he sent me a copy of his result as prepared and authorised under the ‘hands and seal’ of the Nigerian Law School. I could not believe my eyes! Lo and behold, my diligent and brilliant friend, who made outstanding four (4) A Grades in four of his subjects at the Nigerian Law School, but just one (1) B Grade in the last subject, was graded solely on the basis of his lowest score – the B Grade. Hence, the 2:2 Grade despite having made 4 A Grades. ‘What madness!’ I exclaimed.
It was there and then, that I concluded that perhaps, the Nigerian Law School leadership (for I seriously struggle to think the Nigerian Council of Legal Education would have approved of such arbitrary, unreasonable and ominous grading system, capable of wrecking the lives and future of passionate and industrious Nigerian Law School Students) must have really been out of touch with reality, sound reasoning and exercise of good judgment, when formulating such preposterous, ridiculous, and retarded grading system.
With due respect to the concerned relevant authority, I am minded to argue that the Nigerian Law School has lost touch with sane academic cum professional practice. Indeed, I seriously struggle to understand why a student at the Nigerian Law School will make four (4) A Grades and one (1) B but will end up with a 2:2 or even Pass! I have had situations, where some of my very close friends confided in me how they made 4 A Grades and just one (1) C Grade but ended up graduating with a Pass from the Nigerian Law School due to the arbitrary, unreasonable, and flawed Nigerian Law School Grading System. I cannot help but ask these questions: Like who does that? Who, in their right senses, will give you your lowest grade as your final grade? Seriously, how on earth can that be justified? Who dares toy with people’s future, with such wicked, heartless and ominous grading system, that even the leading schools in the world would never give a thought? How does one have 4 A Grades and then finish with a 2:2 or a Pass in a sane academic society or community?
In a sane and ideal academic community, one would have expected that the average of the student would be determined and used in arriving at the final grade for I seriously doubt if any right-thinking-minded and responsible academic institution would ever consider making one’s lowest grade, one’s final grade. If that be the case, lots of folks, my humble self-inclusive, would have perhaps ended up with a Pass in even my degree programme and found it very hard to get a good and befitting job in a leading law firm or institution. If that had been the case, people would have judged me based on the Pass grade and concluded that I must have been unserious, lazy and irresponsible in my academics, with no potentials for the future. If that had been the case, I doubt if I would have had the confidence to inspire others to keep exceeding limits, breaking all forms of barrier to academic and life excellence, while taking the world by storm.
How on earth can any reasonable teacher, examiner or instructor judge the ability of his or her student purely and solely on the basis of one course or subject, that he or she did relatively poor or had an average performance in, which could have been triggered by any factor or due to any reason, including but not limited to the seemly incompetence and unprofessional conduct of some of the Nigerian Law School lecturers. I remember very vividly, for instance, while at the Nigerian Law School, how some Nigerian Law School Lecturers, during one of our courses, Corporate Law Practice, would allow their egos to take a better hold of them and argue over frivolities, proving their vain superiority to the other, at the expense of our learning as students, depriving themselves of any common-sense that should have told them that such energy are better channelled to teaching their students and facing their responsibilities squarely.
It is really maddening, untenable and unbecoming, when Nigerian Law School Lecturers come to the class and boast of how many students in the previous set failed woefully; how many had carry overs and had to retake the exams a couple of times before finally passing but fail to give the Nigerian Law School Students positive vibes and energy worthwhile to hold on to, that can propel them to achieve the seemly impossible. For instance, one would have expected that the Nigerian Law School Lecturers would spend more time telling their students: how feasible making an outstanding grade at the Nigerian Law School could be; how some past students have left the Nigerian Law School to excel in their practice whether in leading law firms or in other leading institutions; how such students were able to weather the storm at the Nigerian Law School to carve a niche for themselves, not only in the legal profession, but also in other spheres of lives, for law is never an end in itself but a good means to an end.
It is for the foregoing reasons and many more that I dare say that this Nigerian Law School Ominous Grading System Must Stop. Yes, it is high-time we stopped this madness. In the next couple of days, I shall be starting a Social Media Campaign to address this evil and seemly madness tagged #LawSchoolBadGradingMustStop and I ask that you join me on this voyage. I ask that you join me as we collectively speak against such grave injustice done to our bright minds and young scholars. I ask that you join me as we fight against a system that is unreflective of one’s true abilities.
We refuse to keep quiet in the face of a system that wrecks our young people, destroy their resilient spirit due to its own failure to adopt a fair, equitable and progressive system.
We refuse to be shut down in protesting against a system that is in accordance with international best practices and should not be made mention of much more used in a progressive society like ours.
We refuse to keep quiet in the face of a system that has done our society no good but greater evil; a system that has frustrated the great, considerable and laudable efforts of our very young, vibrant and industrious men and women, who aspired to be world class lawyers and advocates in our hallowed temples of justice, but now have their competencies questioned by their (prospective) employers, all because of some people’s indiscretion and poor exercise of judgement.
Joseph Onele graduated with a First Class Honours from Nigeria’s Premier University, the University of Ibadan and is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria; firstname.lastname@example.org; <https://ng.linkedin.com/in/josephonelePlease Follow Us @ThePageNg