Campus hustle: So many of us have gone through university and experienced all kinds of lecturers – we mean for those that attended all lectures. We have the ones that find fun in giving retakes, the hyenas and, of course, the ones that you will only see once a semester – the artful dodger.
Going through a Ugandan university is comparable to being in a battlefield. The lecturers are on the other side of the frontline exchanging fire with the students. We have all had our fair share of lecturers. This week on Twitter, a video leaked of a lecturer destroying architectural pieces of his students in their presence. Or perhaps, we have all watched the 3 Idiots movie with Virus, the famous hard nut of a lecturer. So today, we revisit our university days with the different types of Ugandan lecturers.
The gods of retakes
You know the lecturers who have quotas for retakes. They basically have to give out a minimum number of retakes at the end of every semester. It does not matter how well people prepare, at least, they will score some people at a 48 per cent. Over time, they have earned a reputation for their retakes. Stories are told of years they gave over half of the class retakes. They are basically retake factories. Since most university notice boards used to put retakes in bold, all you had to do was confirm your name had no bold colour. No bolding meant no retake, no retake meant you could throw a celebration party. A joke was once told that these lecturers tell their students; “In my course, nobody gets an ‘A’. ‘A’ is for God, ‘B’ is for me, ‘C’ is for the serious students, you can share the ‘D’s and ‘E’s among yourselves”.
The title obsessionists
Extremely obsessed about titles, and take every moment to remind students about all the great universities they attended. If you want to get something from them, you have to play to their ego. Do not miss out any of their titles, if possible, remind them of their research thesis. If he is obsessed with the title of ‘Professor’ then by all means let it appear in all your communications to him. Let it have a special header on all your coursework submissions. By doing these basics right, you will be a step closer to graduation.
The Kikuubo traders
The traders have decided to make a buck off their marks. It is marks for sale. They literally run a stock exchange. Coursework goes for a certain price, tests and exams too have their own price. And these prices fluctuate as per the urgency and importance of the marks. Similar to the gods of retakes, these two have a specific amount they target to make off every test and exam. Sometimes a paper will go missing just to nudge students out of their comfort zones and get them touching their pockets. Of course, some of the people reading this are here thanks to these traders. Traders live by one adage; “give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar.”
Men love power. Men with power will prey on anything that they desire. Similar to the traders, these ones do not use a cash-based system. They prefer to transact on a barter system. Hyenas also seem to be very brainy, they lecture the hardest of course-units. Above all, their course units are cores, not electives making it even harder to survive them. They pride in the fact that no beautiful girl worth their liking has been left untouched throughout their academic career. One day, when the world finally faces them, may be then, it shall be said that what they did was nothing less of sexual harassment.
The giver of handouts
It is only in Ugandan universities where students spend hours and hours scavenging through handouts. Take out handouts from Ugandan universities and most will simply close. As such, you have lecturers that have literally signed a deal with the photocopiers. They will massage a topic before referring you to the photocopier for the handout. Every lecture implies a new handout. And they make sure you define things the way they are defined in the handout. If you give any definition other than that in the handout, you will miss the marks.
The perfect lecturer
Once in a while, one is lucky to come across a perfect lecturer, the one that is everything you ever wished for. They treat their students like friends, or better still, like their own children. They stir up the curiosity in their classes, they are entertaining but above all, they actually make one fall in love with the subject. They are knowledgeable in their areas. They are the kind that will show up without any book and confidently lecture about any subject. Although they do not penalise students for non-attendance, their lectures are always full to the brim. They do not even obsess about titles yet students cannot help but shower them with all the love. Unfortunately, these kind are extinct at most universities.
Old habits die hard. You have the special group of lecturers that heads the lecturer’s association. They are responsible for 90 per cent of the chaos at the universities. Once in a while, they will even encourage the student guild to organise their fair share of strikes. In this class of strikers are the lecturers that rarely show up for their lectures. They will always call the course coordinator to deliver their apologies. There is nothing university students enjoy like the words; “no lecture”. Not surprising, these lecturers are among the students’ favourites.