When the reality of not graduating downs on many a fun-loving campus girl, desperation sets in and they are willing to do anything for the grades, including having sex with lecturers, writes GARDY CHACHA
Being educated no doubt gives you a competitive edge for survival. Completing higher education is like creaming an arduously prepared cake for it to be ready for the market. The excitement and tempestuous feelings that inducts when one thinks about their graduation is palpable.
As days blend into nights and the clock ticks in an unending sequence, the thought of joining the
corporate world as an intellectual becomes more real. What then happens when you are informed that you won’t graduate until a year later because you have to redo a unit you failed?
Joan Mwikali’s class was scheduled to graduate last year in December. She, however, could not graduate because she had failed to attain the pass mark for a unit that was essential for her to attain the degree. She, therefore, had to wait for another graduation slated for mid this year, by which time she was expected to redo the unit.
She had no choice and patiently waited for second semester of this year. Joan couldn’t believe it when she was told she was facing a challenge in the same unit and couldn’t graduate again.
When she delved into the matter, she was told she hadn’t done one CAT (continuous assessment test) and she would have to wait until another semester so as to begin the course afresh.
However, her lecturer — a male — told her that even if she were to graduate, she wouldn’t “just graduate for free”. Caught between a rock and a hard place, she agreed to share a night with him for an ‘A’, which could guarantee her graduation and joining the job market that she had eagerly awaited.
The ‘lay for an A’ phenomenon is a reality in many institutions of higher learning as students become desperate to get the required papers to join the competitive job market. When a student is faced with a tacky prospect of achieving her dreams albeit in the wrong way, and there is no leeway provided for them to seek legal channels, then the vice is nurtured.
Caroline Makana found herself giving in to a lecturer’s request that he replaces her grades, which were mostly Ds, with As. She was in Third Year and wasn’t facing a snag from graduating, neither was she expected to redo a course, but her level of academic performance was exceptionally low. She needed a ‘boost’ if she was to attain at least a second class, upper division. It occurred to her that if she didn’t do something about it, her precious degree certificate would be dotted with Ds, which she figured would compromise her in the job market.
“A man is just a man: Having sex with one won’t kill. If he can exchange pleasure with As, that’s a bonus,” says the now Fourth Year student at a local university.
“It’s a rare gift God gave women and at times you’ve to use it to save face,” adds Caroline.
Counselling psychologist Catherine Mbau says campus girls are vulnerable to malevolent ideas from male lecturers who neither care for their rights nor their integrity.
A girl fails her exams and the university statutes give her no room of progressing. The student might be blackmailed by her lecturer and may lack strength to say ‘No’. It could sometimes also be fear of failure or it could be that they have their priorities mixed up,” she says.
Catherine reiterates that essential avenues to save girls from this pedagogical absurdity are closed. At the same time, she says girls share in the blame since they are responsible for exposing themselves. She adduces that it’s a matter of choice and protecting self-integrity.
Says Mbau: “A girl who doesn’t follow the obvious creed for passing exams is inviting rogue male lecturers to take advantage of her. They want good results without working for it, which doesn’t make sense,” she argues.
Another woman, Grace Boke, admits to having been once tempted to sleep with a lecturer for academic favours. She had already agreed and what remained was to ‘solemnise’ the deal after which everyone would get their share of the bargain. She, however, grew cold feet on the designated date and did not show up at the agreed meeting place.
“I just couldn’t bring myself to imagine meeting him on campus pavements and saying hallo. Again, he would’ve gained control over me because to him, I wouldn’t have graduated without him,” Grace says.
*John Mwamba, a lecturer at a local private university, who doesn’t want to be identified, affirms the sentiments of many on this subject.
“Yes, sex is something a man can’t avoid. Many thought that the habit of lecturers sleeping with girls on campus subsided, but what really happened is that lecturers smartened. You get cosy with the girl in faraway places where no one knows you and then you act as if nothing is happening when you get back to town or campus,” he says.
Mwamba, however, says girls cannot be absolved of the problem because they don’t resist and always behave in a manner that suggests they wouldn’t mind so long as you award them good grades.
Mbau advises girls to be focused and firm. She says they should decide upfront what is important to them — the grade or integrity. Believing in their personal ability is a virtue since they got to campus without having sex and can go past it with their dignity intact.
“Girls should utilise time management skills and prioritise their studies so that they avoid having to grapple with giving into sex for grades. Self worth is not earned through grades,” concludes Mbau.
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