Ambrose Alli University (AAU) has announced plans to speed up the upload of results to the institution’s online portal in an ongoing digitisation drive.
Otunba Mike Aladenika, its communications head, spoke to TheCable about efforts in AAU’s ICT department to clear a backlog of result uploads and allow its alumni to access them online.
Earlier, an AAU graduate attempted suicide over the institution’s alleged refusal to issue him his results.
The student, identified as Precious Ogbeide, graduated from the state-owned university in 2018 but lamented that he has not been issued his certificate.
The parents of Ogbeide said he has been battling depression due to his inability to get a job over the issue.
The AAU graduate was said to have stabbed himself with shards of a broken bottle, eventually ending up hospitalised.
AAU acknowledged that there might indeed be a backlog of related cases that its current management is trying to resolve.
“They are cumulative problems from over the years that were left unattended to, but that is being worked on,” said Aladenika.
“What we will now do is give it speed. There is a school fees crisis at the moment that we are trying to solve.
“Once all is stable, we will resume as soon as possible.”
What’s really going on with the withheld results?
It is not a recent problem. The current AAU management is one year old, so it wouldn’t have been an issue created by it. But, certainly, it is a problem and one that has been long-standing within the system over the years. We’ve accepted that there may be cases of issues like that. Having acknowledged this, the current management is working towards resolving such problems. We are aware that the digitisation process of uploading results into the school website portal has not been fast enough in some of the departments. But the current administration is fast-tracking that. If you come to the institution in Edo, we will go to the ICT department and you will see the pile-up of files that are uploaded for ease of access. It is one of those challenges that the school is currently facing and trying to solve.
It means that there can only be two intentions in the report about Precious. It is either to help the student concerned solve their problem or to demarket the university. If the first is the intention, then the report should be detailed, including the period within which the affected individual was a student, his matriculation number, and his department. Such details will help us ascertain the authenticity of their studentship, determine the reason for the non-release of their result, and find out the extent of support they can get. As a spokesperson of AAU as I’m talking to you, I don’t have this information. So even if I were to check with the university, there’s a limit to what I can do.
If the withheld result is from a fault of his, maybe he carried over some courses that he didn’t resolve, then we can tell him to service it so we can let him go. If it is the system’s fault, then we can rectify it. But without the relevant identifying details, these reports only appear to be demarketing the institution. Since it has now come to the level of frustration as to warrant a suicide attempt, that is a dangerous point. There is no need to shift blame. How best can we help to correct the situation? Provide the information, so can do our checks.
For a result withheld for five years, there must been a long-running correspondence between the affected alumnus and the management. Are you suggesting otherwise?
From my findings, I learned that there was a time when an activist came with some students a year ago to interface with the university management in Ekpoma here. They discussed. AAU then, I hadn’t joined the system, agreed they to do checks. Their documents then were sent in for upload. The backlog of uploads the university hasn’t done over the years, they’re doing them now. I only specifically ask about those individual ones who went to press; that are climaxing into the suicide case. We will join them with others and send in a prompt. I’m just three months here in office and we’re talking about issues of five to eight years ago. So you can imagine the extent I’m willing to go.
About the ICT department’s digitisation drive and uploading the results, should those get in the way of releasing physical copies that these aggrieved graduates can work with?
They should be able to access physical copies, but only at the end of uploading, which is the climax of the process of result computation. Only when the uploading is done can the final result come out. The uploaded cumulative result is the official version that the school issues, although students can always access their scores with the lecturers.
That is why the issue of transitioning from the former analogue level into the digital methods of upload must be completed. Once that is down, we can now say that what is represented on that site is what we have released.
What then was different for other students who were able to access their results before the digitisation drive?
That’s why I think there may be two issues at play. If you don’t have personal issues like carryover courses, then the fault is with the system. But if do, it means you have to rectify them before the system can allow you to go. If a student is indebted, the university won’t let them go. You may leave the system but you won’t be graduated. There are students like that but I don’t know the category these ones belong to. That’s why we want their details. Is it a personal problem or an institutional problem? Once we determine that, we will know how to solve it.
So what’s the outlook at the moment?
The way out are few and pragmatic. We sympathise with the young man who attempted suicide. That won’t solve any problem. The way we can help them is if we have their details, including their name, matric number, department, year, and what they think could have been the problem. They should open up. I will personally follow them up and tell the public what should be done. If the institution is culpable, we will come out to say, “We’re sorry. This was an institutional problem and apologise for what it has cost you.” There is no big deal about saying that. If it is a personal issue, we will say, “Young man, you are culpable. This is what you left undone. Please do it.”
As soon as studies resume in Ekpoma, most of these things will be addressed. They are cumulative problems from over the years that were left unattended to, but that are being worked on. What we will now do is give it speed. There is a crisis in school fees at the moment that we are trying to solve, once all is stable, we will resume.
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