By Friday Omosola
Do you really know where your undergraduate project publication is right now? Or are you assuming that it is still in your department’s library?
Over the years, the largest undergraduate projects, research works and materials are seeing endings at dumping sites and hands of roadside sellers.
In this report, The Union Nigeria spoke with academic researchers to unearth reasons undergraduate projects publications are being used as suya and bean cake packages, despite been seen as a learning activity that enriches students’ experience to broaden and deepen their classroom learning.
The Sub-Dean, Faculty of Arts, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), Dr Sunday Abraham Ogunode, says lack of problem-solving, impact and attributes have been the major reasons the projects get ignored.
Dr Ogunode said undergraduate students are no longer ready to pass through the rigours of academic research that require many stages of revision, analysis and synthesization of data for the production of cutting-edge research.
Ogunode maintained that what undergraduates’ students churn out today is called “tissue paper” documents, not academic research.
“The research by undergraduates lack depth and the nuanced ingredients expected of dermic research output and most of these researches are cut and pasted and could not survive plagiarism checks”, he said.
“Students are not alone on the negative trend; some unprofessional lecturers also aid and abet them for transactional purposes. Many factors responsible for research acceptability focus on current debates, viability and the depth of scholarly engagement.
“Acceptable research fulfills expected academic output. Research that is not subjected to the rigour of peer- review, deep plagiarism scrutiny and meticulous editing cannot be accepted.
“The first take of any academic research should and must always be how it can solve identified problems while opening up such areas for more scholarly intervention”.
Ogunode noted that undergraduates no longer pass through the process of real-time academic impact for acceptable outputs. “Everything has been commercialised for transactional gains at the expense of research problem-solving, opening progressive doors of intervention opportunities.”
Corroborating Dr Ogunode, Dr. Olunifesi Suraj of the University of Lagos, said so-called well-researched projects are not adding impact as students only consult people and online copy.
“Most students do not have research skills, their works and topics are not researchable. They do not have the in-depth to speak to any challenges and even those people who appear to be doing the right thing, their topics are not proving anything or have an impact on society.
“Before research can have an achievement, it must speak to the society, have problem-solving and must be sailor toward a particular public society and find out the society or unravel why something is done this way and what government can do about it.”
Professor Samuel Agele of the Federal University of Technology, FUTA, Akure, unearthed archiving and adoption of digitalization as a panacea to undergraduate projects ending at the hands of roadside sellers.
He said from the 2000s, undergraduate students had derailed excessively from being guided by supervisors for optimal performance.
“Most of the time, projects by students are preliminary tasks of the introductory part and are meant to be published because of their methods and details.”
Professor Agele said there are different methods to embrace in publishing projects, ranging from local, regional and international journals.
“It can be needed in workshops, and seminars among others, but the upkeep of the hard copy of the project is the responsibility of the university, either the faculty, department or the library.
“Projects are documents of high interest, as they are expected to be kept in the library as archived materials and the level of honour to a project depends on the quality of a project which is meant to solve problems.
“If a project is written on a solution to a particular problem, the project tends to be valuable to people who are facing the problem. Several copies and E-cookies can be made for a valuable project.”
Similarly, Engineer Benson Ojedayo, a lecturer at Ekiti State University (EKSU), said a hundred percent of projects which are manuals should be online as the world is advancing in digitalization.
Engineer Benson said in the western world, students only submit a soft copy but now they submit many copies.
It’s sadden hearts seen our projects with roadside sellers
Fatoba Odunayo, a graduate of Ekiti State University (EKSU), said it is heart sadness to see students’ projects being used to package suya and bean cake.
“The reasons projects are included in universities curriculum was to add value to educational parastatals”, he said.
“When students do rigorous research it motivates them, as they know there is a reward and joy in holding a copy of the project.”
Odunayo said there were no alternative ways to end the act than school management taking up the responsibilities of keeping projects safe.
Another student, Adebayo Toluwalope, a graduate of Mass Communication, Adekunle Ajasin University, said to make projects more proficient, management and lecturers should embrace technological advancement.
“Embracing technological advancement, whereby students could submit E-copies of projects to lecturers, correct and send it back to students as that would hasten the project and make it less tiring for both parties.”