Friday, 30 September 2011

No Need to Apologise!

A VSO went into the examination hall to observe how exams were conducted. The Finals , for Year 3 students.

There were over 200 candidates but not enough tables and chairs to go round; those without would have to sit the exam some other time (unspecified).

 Shortly after question papers had been given out,  a student drew the attention of the supervisor to the fact that the papers  now being pored over,  were for an exam the following day, not the current one! Papers were hurriedly collected in and supervisors went off to find the right ones,  leaving the students unsupervised but having first instructed them  to remain in the hall in complete silence. Twenty minutes later the supervisors returned with the correct paper and blasted the students because they were not in silence. A girl who had been sitting on a desk was slapped across the head and told she would face a charge of examination malpractice!

The exam resumed with three students sharing one question paper. They were told not to lean across each other or this would also be considered malpractice and the students concerned would face automatic dismissal from the exam hall and disqualification from the examination.

In so many dealings between people there is no sense of a need for an apology or even an explanation or a need to respect the person being spoken to if they are considered to be in any way of lower status.  In this society, status and hierarchy lie embedded in the root .

For the past two nights we have had no power or water. Our sleep has been regularly interrupted not only by waves of  heat but by the noise and fumes of the generator owned by the bank manager who lives next door which is positioned not far from our window. He leaves it running all night long with no thought of the effects on his neighbours. ‘This is Nigeria!’ is his response when tackled about it.  In a society where a bank manager is of infinitely higher status than a teacher – or anything else in civilian life,  nobody will put up much of an argument.

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