When the Education Minister, Professor Nana Jane Opoku Agyeman announced the ban on sale of lecture notes, my mind went straight to my family members and friends who are lecturers.
Some of them make as much as GH5000 in profit per semester from sale of lecture notes popularly called handouts.
Then quickly, I remember how the sale of these lecture notes affects the learning end of the pedagogical equation. And if the motive for sale of these handouts is anything to go by, then the ban is right.
I must say that handouts make learning and its attendant evaluation easy for students as many lecturers draw questions directly or indirectly from them.
But with some lecturers, the notes come with promises for marks and threats of failure, depending on whether a student buys or not.
Others present their handouts a few weeks to examination and one wonders how students read them thoroughly for maximum impact.Very few lecturers give their handouts for free.
My economics lecturer is one who gave lousy handouts at a very high cost. This man would repeat some topics in his handout while he skipped some which were captured in the table of contents without any compensation to students.
Let me not bore you with an indulgent alcoholic since there is a whole article for him in future.Let’s deal with the serious aspects in this piece.
The Minister, Prof.Nana Jane Opoku Agyeman said the notes should be compiled into books and sold in school libraries (or no be so?). In effect the Minister who was once a lecturer is not denying these lecturers an opportunity to make money.In the end, the lecture notes when compiled into books can fetch them reasonable cash.
You see, employers and teachers alike complain that students are lazy that is why many come out of school half-baked–and majority is actually “quarterly-baked”.
So it beats reason for these lecturers who are very much aware of the incessant complaints of graduate shallowness to still be spoon-feeding the students they are to transform.
How does a bad input bring out a good output? Is the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” restrictive and not applicable to other spheres of life? Is it any wonder that our PhD holding lecturers and professors cannot apply their knowledge to solve energy problems in their schools and are overly dependent on governments for everything else that schools elsewhere take responsibility for? How about the rejection of the research fund which is to replace the research allowance?
It is my view that abolishing the sale of lecture notes will equip students with basic research skills because lazy lecturers will be demotivated from printing notes and students will no more rely on simplified lecture notes.
Long run, students will compare several books, jotting down notes, as they develop critical thinking, writing and research skills and also acquire more knowledge by comparing contents of various books.
Meanwhile, the minister should have monitoring mechanism for such pertinacious lecturers who would still impose notes on students.
Frederick K. Kofi Tse