Editor's Comment

Students riotous behaviour unjustifiable

Evelyn Hone

THERE is absolutely no justification for the riotous behaviour by Evelyn Hone College students who damaged the institution’s infrastructure as a protest against the poor examination results by the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority.
Whatever grievances the students may have, engaging in lawlessness is wrong and punishable.
There can never be a reason good enough to justify the destruction of school infrastructure which was built at high cost using tax payers’ money.
Evelyn Hone College students recently ran amok after learning that their November/December examinations results were far poorer than what they expected. They pulled down a perimeter wall which separates their institution from National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA).
This is disappointing considering that these are intellectuals, or are supposed to be. They are expected to exhibit good reasoning and judgment on issues.
It is expected that students who are leaders understand the available procedures of airing grievances and taking to the streets is certainly not one of them.
We are left to wonder what could have happened if the police had not moved in quickly to curtail their plan to take to Church Road which is one of the busiest roads in the city.
Most likely vehicles were going to be damaged in venting out their anger.
Students need to understand that as intellectuals society places a high demand of civility on them. It is expected that students will differentiate themselves from street boys and girls by being civil in the way they air their grievances.
Unfortunately, when students resort to uncivil ways of airing grievances they can hardly be distinguished from street boys and girls who probably have never seen the inside of a classroom.
In as much as we also know that the failure rate of 70 percent is too high, there are better ways of getting to the bottom of the matter. Indeed such a sudden drop in performance is a serious matter. It could even be annoying, but still it is best to be rational in seeking explanations.
Before throwing stones we expect students to introspect on what could have led to their failure.
This is because while the majority of students failed, 30 percent made it. These students were all taught by the same lecturers and subsequently sat for the same examination. How come 30 percent made it?
Students therefore need to be sincere and introspect on how much they invested in their studies.
We know that some students in tertiary institutions have a tendency of abusing their freedom by prioritising partying at the expense of their education.
Some students stay away from classes at will and yet expect to perform well. This is wishful thinking.
If the affected students know that they did not invest enough time in their studies perhaps they should move on and prepare for a re-write.
However we cannot rule out the possibility of other factors beyond the students. For instance, are the lecturers living up to the challenge of imparting knowledge to the required standards?
Another consideration could be the markers. Did they do the right thing? Given this scenario, there is need to get independent markers to sample the exam answers to ascertain performance of the students.
The institution therefore needs to launch an investigation into what could have caused such a high failure rate.
The institution should actually be concerned about its image. The high failure rate has potential to dent its image especially if the trend continues.
Evelyn Hone College management will do well to get to the bottom of the matter and find a lasting solution.
There is need to establish whether the problem is with students or lecturers.
It is a possibility that lecturers did not do a good job to prepare the students. If this was the case, the question of whether lecturers are qualified or skilled can then be looked into.
However, even if this was to be the case, the lawlessness exhibited by students cannot be justified.
As Chief Government spokesperson Dora Siliya has rightly noted, all higher learning institutions have union leaders through whom grievances can be escalated to relevant authorities in a more civilised way.
For now, Evelyn Hone students have to face the consequences of their action at the hands of the police as well as the school administration. Unfortunately, it may be the parents and guardians of these unruly students to foot the costs.

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