Some students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State have expressed displeasure over what they termed as frustrating the process of getting their academic transcripts years after graduation.
Over a 100 of them, who expressed their diverse experiences on a social media platform for the institution’s alumni, said they missed international academic admissions and scholarships due to the frustrating processes put in place by the school before they could get their academic transcripts.
Apart from missing out from such global opportunities due to the failure of the school and etx.ng, an online consultant it engaged for the process, to send the transcripts before the specified deadlines, many ex-students said they were also not refunded monies they paid for the service.
Many Nigerian universities now make use of consultants to issue electronic and hard-copy mailed transcripts on behalf of their ex-students especially those applying for scholarships or admissions to schools overseas.
This is against the traditional process in the past whereby such students could apply for such documents, pay directly to the school and pick up the transcripts within a short time.
For OAU, graduates of the school who required their transcripts now have to apply through the consultant online (ETX) and after paying between N20,500 (for electronic transcripts) and N25,000 (for transcripts to be mailed to institutions abroad), the consultant carries out the process on behalf of the client and ensures the document is sent to the said destinations.
After registering on the etx.ng electronic portal, and paying the prescribed fees, the ex-student is notified of the different stages of the application process till the document reaches its destination.
Some of the stages span online documentation/approval at the etx.ng office, the school’s alumni body, the school’s records office, the applicant’s department and the registrar.
The applicant is notified at every stage via email but from the experience of many alumni, the process usually gets delayed or truncated when it gets to the school and at the end the documents are sent late after specified deadlines or not sent at all.
Founded in 2013, ETX.NG is an electronic transcript exchange and certificate verification service in Nigeria ”which allows students & alumni, academic institutions, and employers to request, verify, and share digital credentials in a simple and secure way.”
The platform on its website claims ”to have helped thousands of students and hundreds of institutions exchange more than 20 thousand transcripts and verification responses globally.”
It also says it has ”the full approval and backing of the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).”
PREMIUM TIMES was unable to ascertain how the funds, running into millions of naira collected by the consultant on behalf of the school since the scheme began years ago, is being shared betwee the two organisations.
When PREMIUM TIMES visited the ETX office in Abuja, an admin staffer, who did not give her name, said the fault was not that of the firm. She pushed the blame to the South-west school.
She said ”OAU is notorious for frustrating the process over the years and has made many students blame ETX for the failure to honour the agreement to send such transcripts on time”.
”We don’t have the same problem with other schools. It is only in the case of OAU that we experience such challenges,” she said. ”We usually deliver the transcripts electronically or by mail promptly once the schools have released them and we have confirmed payment. Our own process here does not take more than one week. If the transcript is not delivered on time, then it is the fault of the issuer, the university in this case.”
Meanwhile, the OAU spokesperson, Abiodun Olanrewaju, when contacted for comments on Friday said the school was aware of the challenges being faced by ex-studcents applying for their transcripts and was moving to rectify the anomalies as soon as possible.
He also formally apologised to ex-students who may have felt genuinely aggrieved or shortchanged along the line.
He said the Vice-Chancellor, Eyitope Ogunbodede, had already visited the transcript/record office of the institution to see how the process of issuing transcripts could be fast-tracked and improved upon.
”Everything is being sorted out. We are aware of all this,” Mr Olarewaju said on the phone. ”And we apologise as a university for the delays and the inconveniences that out alumni have suffered as a result of that ‘innocent’ error on our part.”
On measures the school is taking, he said: ”We have adjusted to suit the … of our graduates for now and they would see changes. Actually, the management was not happy that such things happened but it came to their attention late. If the management had known much earlier, the actions we are taking, we would have taken much earlier.”
”I can tell you loud and clear that the Professor Eyitope Ogunmodede led administration is ready to change this. The vice-chancellor has visited the transcript section, I accompanied him to the place. He held a meeting with them and has instructed our own computer section to make the processing of transcripts and the processing of same much faster…”
Meanwhile, many of the alumni of the institution expressed disgust in the process saying it had cost them opportunities and funds over the years. They also called on the authorities to revamp the system of collecting transcripts to make it more seamless and effective.
”I experienced this and I became frustrated,” says Ebun Odegbile. ”What I noticed it that the staff are not happy with the new system so they pledged to frustrate the process, imagine checking on them like someone is checking a sick patient and yet no information about stages of requested transcripts.”
Another alumnus, Lolly Afo, urged the OAU authorities to find a lasting solution to the challenge ex-students face in getting their transcripts.
”Aside having conversation around this issue, what’s the way forward?” she said. ”In my opinion, I think the alumni should propose a solution and tender it to the authorities. It can’t continue like this. It is going to be a daunting task, but I see solution here.”
”The world has gone digital ages ago. I want to believe ETX was brought in as a digital resolution to solving a manual process but unfortunately, they are far from it! I don’t think ETX has thought outside the box to innovatively create solutions to this problem. I can beat my chest that we have alumni that can create a digital solution to this problem but I also know that there would be ‘giants’, ‘Pharaohs’ who are profiting from this hardship and wouldn’t want things to run smoothly.”
Another, Quosim Oladoye narrated his experience.
”I remember when I applied and requested the transfer of the transcript to PG college and my department two years ago. It took more than three months to reach the destination.
”Not until I visited the place and I later realised they did the whole process manually because the computer system got corrupted. They couldn’t locate the file again, so they had to start all over. It was a bad experience.”
”It’s very annoying and frustrating,” said Obisanya Isaiah. ”Transcript requests are unnecessarily delayed for over 3-4months in Oba Awon University. I think the problem lies in the management of this department. There should be a management report/dashboard to monitor the general status of all requests. Any erring official should be sanctioned accordingly.”
For Abimbola Aduroja, ” the transcript nightmare is not what I bargained for when I applied through ETX. Six months after it is silence that I am experiencing.”
”When I got my first transcript processed in 1985, I can understand that there is no computer. With the level of computerisation today, it’s expected that excellence will be the order. Alas! still had the same experience.
”ETX is more of a money-making venture, but for whom – University or some other individuals? ETX has no control over the process. So what are we really paying for? It should be possible for ETX with all the money they are making to employ people, even if it’s two persons per faculty to follow up (do leg work) and see that there’s resolution within a particular period of time.”
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