From the moment I became a bonafide student of the University of Ilorin months ago, I discovered a consistent yet disgusting trend. Most students already know the phenomenon I am about to describe but let us have a visual representation. CLASS A holds in LT1 from 9 am to 10 am while CLASS B holds in the same venue from 10 am to 12 pm. Before 10 am, students who want to take CLASS B would crowd all entrances in anticipation of when CLASS A would end. As soon as CLASS A is done, most times even before the students or lecturer has left the class; there is a raging stampede as students from CLASS B pile into the lecture hall in a rush most times involving violent pushes. There are a million and one things wrong with this. As someone who has witnessed a stampede at a stadium a few years back, we are literally playing with a disaster waiting to happen. What happens if a student falls and the others remain unconcerned as they struggle to get seats at the front? They would keep running and most likely, step on that person. I have been elbowed on the stomach at least 20 times in this kind of scenario (very painful, I must add). However, this has to stop before something really terrible actually happens. To proffer solution to this problem, we need to identify the “why”.
So, why do students struggle for seats in lecture halls? Everyone wants the much coveted front seats where he or she can actually see the board and hear the lecturer throughout the class. I have been unlucky to sit at the back row several times when I was just too weak to struggle. It wasn’t a pretty experience as I had only about ten lines at the end of a 2-hour class.
To solve this, I propose two solutions. In a casual survey of lecture halls around the campus, I discovered that we have whiteboards and projectors at some venues like LT1 to LT4, NSLT1, NSLT2 and ALT. However, most lecturers do not make use of these learning tools. Some students don’t even know the importance or use of the whiteboard and go as far as writing with markers on them. In a standard lecture hall, the lecturer should connect his laptop to the whiteboard and display this on the projector which is big enough to be viewed no matter where any student is seated. For courses that require writing down of equations, the whiteboard has a special pen that can be used to write on it. This solves the issue of not being able to see the board clearly. Coupled with the use of an audible microphone and sound system, students can be able to hear the lecturer as well. A lecturer once mentioned that the University was considering putting a break between the times for each lecture so that instead of 10 am to 12 pm and 12 pm to 2 pm, we would have something like 9 am to 10:45 am, and 11 am to 12:45 pm. As such, there would be at least a 15 minutes period where students of the just concluded class can leave the lecture hall without having to struggle past suffocating bodies. I strongly support this.
These are just two suggested methods of curbing the constant scramble for seats across lecture halls in the University of Ilorin. You may have other ideas; feel free to drop them in the comment box so that the University authorities will have many options in tackling this terrible occurrence.