How NOUN shut students out of exams at Abuja Study Centre | International Centre for Investigative Reporting

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By Temi OHAKWE, Abuja.


CONFUSION rented the air Wednesday morning at the Wuse 2 centre of the National Open University (NOUN), when students were denied the opportunity of sitting for the examinations as scheduled.

Witnesses stated that officials of the university at the centre shut students out of the exam halls due to unknown reasons, despite their fufilment of all obligations to participate in what was final exams for most of them.

Narrating their experiences, students said the institution had created 30minutes extra in previous semester examinations, for them to arrive and settle in before the commencement of their papers.

“Opposite is the case for this semester exam, as it is I arrived her at exactly 8 am and I watched them locked the gate on me,” laments Sadiyat Abdullahi a student who did not indicate her course of study.

“In fact, two students struggled their ways inside while the NOUN officials were still locking the gate, this is not fair because no prior information was made available on this.”

The students alleged that the NOUN authorities were using the opportunity to extort money from them, expressing worry that the development would make a number of them to re-register for another semester.

“We were not notified at all, of this latest development, I feel it is a reason to raise money, this is no more an open university,” said another student who gave her name as Judith Patrick.

“It is no longer work and learn university, I got to the gate 8:01 am I was not allowed, there is more to this than we can see, they are using us to raise money for the government,” said the 55-year-old civil servant.

Our reporter who was present at the scene of the events said after one hour into the Wednesday first paper,  the NOUN authorities eventually pasted a short notice at the gate informing students of the strict adherence to the exam schedule and time.

The notice stated that all students are expected to be seated in the examination hall 30 minutes before the exams.

The students who got lucky to sit for the exam said no COVID-19 protocol was observed as they were filed into the examination without proper check.

“I was surprised that we were that much exposed to Coronavirus, I thought we will have hand sanitisers available for us to use but after passing the gate we all were on our own,” said Ezekiel Faponmile, another student.

The NOUN had conducted a part of its examination online for students who opted for the online exams during the COVID-19 lockdown, while others who preferred paper and pencil commenced theirs on Monday, September 14.

Visiting the Abuja Model Study Centre at Dutse Alhaji, students experience was not the same as some were observed strolling into the exam hall by 8:15 am.

When contacted for reactions, Ibrahim Sheme, Director of Media at the National Open University was not available. Calls to his mobile phone were not answered while SMS sent afterward were not responded to as of the time of filing this report.

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