Home Education The Dangers of “Push-Up” Schools and “Push-Up” Students in University Education in Nigeria By Dr. Simon Akogu

The Dangers of “Push-Up” Schools and “Push-Up” Students in University Education in Nigeria By Dr. Simon Akogu

In recent years, the phenomenon of "push-up" schools and "push-up" students has become a troubling trend in Nigeria's educational system.

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In recent years, the phenomenon of “push-up” schools and “push-up” students has become a troubling trend in Nigeria’s educational system.

These terms refer to secondary schools and students that prioritize obtaining high grades through unethical means rather than genuine learning. The consequences of this practice are far-reaching, affecting not only the students involved but also the integrity and effectiveness of higher education in Nigeria.

The Illusion of Excellence

“Push-up” schools are institutions that manipulate examination processes to ensure their students achieve high grades, regardless of the students’ actual academic abilities. Parents, eager to see their children succeed, often collude with these schools, hoping that inflated grades will secure university admissions and scholarships. However, this short-sighted approach creates a false sense of achievement. Students enter universities with impressive SSCE results that they cannot substantiate with real knowledge and skills.

This issue is particularly pronounced in subjects like Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry, where foundational understanding is crucial for success in higher education in medicine, engineering and other alied professions.
University lecturers frequently encounter students who, despite having top grades, struggle with basic concepts. This discrepancy undermines the credibility of secondary education and puts undue pressure on university instructors to address these gaps.

The Struggle in Higher Education

The transition from secondary school to university is challenging under normal circumstances. For “push-up” students, this transition can be particularly brutal. Accustomed to artificially inflated grades, these students often find themselves unprepared for the rigorous academic environment of a university. This unpreparedness can lead to frustration, low self-esteem, and academic failure.

Lecturers face the daunting task of teaching students who lack essential prerequisite knowledge. In some cases, university educators have to resort to teaching fundamental concepts that should have been mastered in junior and senior secondary school. This not only slows down the pace of university courses but also diverts resources and attention from more advanced topics. The overall quality of education suffers, impacting all students, not just those from “push-up” backgrounds.

The Broader Implications

The consequences of “push-up” education extend beyond the academic sphere. Students who cannot cope with university demands may seek alternative, often detrimental, ways to deal with their academic failures. This includes involvement in fraudulent activities, cultism, and other forms of deviant behavior. The inability to succeed academically can push students towards negative influences, exacerbating issues of crime and instability on campuses and in the broader society.

Furthermore, the reputation of Nigerian universities suffers when graduates are unable to perform competently in their professional fields. Employers become wary of degrees from institutions known to admit and graduate underprepared students, thus devaluing the hard-earned qualifications of those who genuinely merit them.

A Call to Action

Addressing the issue of “push-up” schools and students requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders in the education sector. Secondary school teachers, school owners, and parents must prioritize genuine learning over the pursuit of high grades. Students should be encouraged to take their studies seriously, preparing for and writing their examinations independently.

Educational authorities must enforce stricter regulations and monitoring to ensure the integrity of examination processes. Schools found engaging in unethical practices should face severe penalties. Moreover, there should be initiatives aimed at reorienting parents and students about the long-term benefits of a solid educational foundation.

University lecturers also have a role to play. While they cannot reverse the damage done in secondary school, they can support struggling students by providing remedial programs and mentorship. However, these efforts should complement, not substitute for, the primary responsibility of secondary schools to provide quality education.

In conclusion, the dangers of “push-up” schools and students in Nigerian university education are profound and multifaceted. To safeguard the future of Nigeria’s education system, it is imperative that all parties work together to promote genuine learning and academic integrity. Only by addressing the root causes of this issue can we hope to produce graduates who are truly equipped to contribute positively to society.

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