Greatest Nigerian students! The year is coming to an end and here at Pulse, we wish to remind you of all the happenings that directly or indirectly affected you as undergraduates in 2018.
Has 2018 been a wonderful year for Nigerian students? Well, that’ll be left for you to decide after reading our compilations of all the big stories from the Nigerian University and Polytechnic campuses.
Here are the 10 big students’ stories that made headlines in 2018.
1. Sexual Harassment Scandals
Sex for marks scandals tops the list of students stories in 2018 because we had too many of them. The second week of the year started with a sexual harassment allegation by a female graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Funke Dezarn against a former lecturer of the school, Dr Francis Andy Fakoya of the Department of Anatomy.
Dezarn alleged that the lecturer was fond of denying the university’s medical students of their grades in order to force them to sleep with him.
This allegation further prompted another graduate of the University of Lagos, Aigbeme Okonkwo to accuse Professor Louis Egwari, a former lecturer of the institution of sexually harassing her in his office.
However, as heavy as the accusations were, Prof Egwari and Dr Fakoya did not react to the allegation, neither did OAU nor UNILAG make a move to investigate the alleged scandal.
Whoever had thought calling out the two lecturers by these graduates would stop sexual harassment on campus would have been very disappointed in their own judgement.
In April, another infamous sex scandal broke out from OAU with a viral audio of a 55-year-old lecturer, Professor Richard Akindeledemanding five rounds of sex from a post-graduate student, Monica Osagie to increase her marks.
After some months of investigations, the management of Obafemi Awolowo University dismissed the lecturer and now, the Professor has been charged to court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC).
Sadly, the punishment meted out to Prof Akindele did not stop some lecturers from committing the same crime. In July, another three lecturers were sacked by Lagos State University (LASU) for sexually harassing their students.
Also, in the midst of OAU’s investigation on Monica Osagie’s allegations against Prof Akindele, an unidentified student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) accused Prof Olusegun Awonusi of the English Department of sexual harassment.
However, the investigation is still ongoing on this allegation, even though, the student and Linda Ikeji who first published the story have allegedly refused to show up authenticate the allegation.
2. Cancellation of HND certificate
On Wednesday, June 6, 2018, Pulse reported that the Federal Government was planning to stop awarding HND certificate to polytechnic graduates and replace it with BTech.
The government also announced that Yaba College of Technology and Kaduna Polytechnic would be upgraded to universities.
This announcement caused a lot of reactions from the public, especially from polytechnic undergraduates. While many critics argued that Polytechnic education should be improved to a better standard instead of scrapping its certificates, others said the government’s plan is a good idea as it may help to reduce the discriminations between Bsc and HND holders.
3. Proposed Tuition for Public Schools
Truly, quality education is no doubt expensive, but obviously, no one wants to try ignorance. Was this the idea behind the government’s proposed tuition for public schools? We aren’t sure.
On Saturday, September 29, 2018, stories about proposed tuition for public tertiary institutions in Nigeria broke.
According to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the FG was planning to increase tuition for undergraduates in Arts and Humanities to N350,000 and N500,000 for those in Sciences.
Some days after, the Federal Government denied having any plan to increase public universities tuition and the story died down.
4. Ambode adopts LASU best graduating student
People always talk about a poor rewarding system for outstanding students in Nigeria, but this year, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state corrected that narrative.
In May, the governor demonstrated a great sense of reward at Lagos State University (LASU) 22nd Convocation ceremony.
The governor adopted the school's best graduating student, Ogunsanya Fuhad Adetoro and also granted him a scholarship and N5million cash reward.
Ogunsanya who finished from the Faculty of Management Science graduated with 4.78 CGPA.
5. UNILAG vs Best student in WAEC
Another popular stories about students in 2018 is the academic achievement of a 15-year-old boy, Okorogheye David, who made nine distinctions in the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and also scored 332 in the 2018 Unified Tertiary and Matriculation Examination (UTME).
Having got the basic academic requirements for admission into any university of his choice, the student told Pulse in an interview that he would like to study Medicine at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) because he believes it is one of the best institutions in Nigeria.
Unfortunately, despite David’s outstanding performances in both WASSCE and UTME, UNILAG did not consider the young genius qualified enough for admission into the institution,
The university considered him too young for admission because according to its admission rule, candidates seeking admission into the school must have reached the age of sixteen (16) by the October 31, of the admission year.
Rejecting the student caused so much reactions as many Nigerians called on UNILAG management to always treat brilliant admission seekers like David as an exception, while others advised the management to scrap the rule.
6. Hijab Controversy in Lagos
Hijab controversies are one of the (in)famous highlights of 2018. This topic offered episodes of fights between students and their teachers, Muslim parents and schools, as well as a disagreement of opinions over what the constitution says about freedom of religion and what school authorities want.
In September 2018, the principal of Isolo Senior Secondary School Mrs J.O Sadare reportedly sent five students out of the school for wearing hijab
Similarly, the management of the University of Ibadan International School in November shut down the school, after some students came to school wearing hijab on Monday, November 12, 2018.
The appearance of the students prompted the school principal to dismissed the morning assembly and also directed that the school be locked until further notice.
However, while Lagos state government issued a circular directing teachers and principals of public schools to allow female students to wear hijab without intimidation or discrimination till the Supreme Court rules over the matter, the authorities of the International School Ibadan, reopened the school and stood their ground that no hijab is allowed in the 63-year-old secondary school.
7. Covenant University
A series of events put Covenant University in the news in 2018. It all started when a Twitter user, @1JayMun tweeted that the university management shaved the hair of some students for allegedly keeping a hairstyle that is non-compliant with the school rules.
The story trended on Twitter for days as many people came for the faith-based school. All of that happened in April. Five months after, the institution got involved in another controversy over alleged wrongful expulsion.
Covenant University as we all know is one of the foremost tertiary institution run with Christian doctrines and also demands 100 % compliance from its students to the rules of the institution.
However, on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, a student of the institution, Emmanuel Adooh took to his Instagram page to explain how he was sexually framed up for expulsion by the university staff members. He went on to say that he took the school to court and won the case.
The case led to further sexual accusations and counter-accusations between Adooh and another female student of the institution.
Interestingly, two weeks after the allegations, Covenant University emerged as the best University in Nigeria.
In September, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings rated the school as one of the top 700 universities in Nigeria.
Covenant University on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, also announced the institution's new world ranking on its Twitter handle saying the faith-based school has joined global ranked universities and globally, it ranks 636.
8. Law School sets a record
In October, the Council of Legal Education released the results of the Bar Final Examination and for the first time, the results of law graduates became a topic everyone felt like talking about online and here’s why.
The Nigerian Law School (NLS) graduated 5,846 students and 161 of them surprisingly finished with first-class degrees.
Before October 2018, the highest numbers of first class graduates ever produced by the NLS was 29. And while many thought the increase is a sign of improvement, some lawyers and other graduates of the institution were worried about the standard that produced 161 outstanding students in a school that has a reputation for not producing many first class graduates.
9. ASUU Strike
If there's anything that has been happening every year in the academic calendar of the Nigerian Universities since 1999, it is ASUU strike
On Sunday, November 4, 2018, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) held a meeting at the Federal Universities of Technology, Akure (FUTA) and at the end of the meeting, the lecturers declared an indefinite nationwide strike.
10. The University of Ibadan turns 70
In the midst of ASUU strike and academic paralysis in Nigerian public universities, the University of Ibadan, the first in Nigeria turned 70 on Saturday, November 17, 2018.
Established in 1948 and located in the capital city of Ibadan, UI, as the institution is fondly referred to, is the mother of all universities in Nigeria. The school has over the years been a long standing training ground for thousands of professionals that run other institutions in the country.
According to the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof Idowu Olayinka, the premier university has premier university has produced 232,225 in its seventy years of existence.
The University of Ibadan is the only university founded before Nigeria became independent in 1960.