It is common knowledge in Nigeria as a nation that every first degree seeking individual (undergraduates) at the tail end (final year) of his/her stay in the tertiary institution of learning, must as a matter of fact undergo one of the must "dreaded" and strenuous part of schooling (some students go ahead to hire a writer to carry on their research(es) for them, popular known among the educational populace as project or Final Year Project.
Many things come together to form the criteria for setting apart who was successful in his stay in school and otherwise. Continuous Assessment, Test, group work(s) and at times personal research then the mother of all, exams. All these are more or less, the yardstick for weighing the "bright" students from the "dull" ones.
Where do final year projects come into the picture and why? We will take a close look at it below.
Tertiary institutions are structured to be the last point of training of professionals (undergraduates) who will duly fill in the vacuums, if there are any and they make up the manpower industry. None can be a lawyer, doctor, sociologist, engineer, architect without proper training in the University.
That being said and done, let's take a quick look at one of the most vital and important part of this aforementioned training.
FINAL YEAR PROJECT TOPICS.
What entails a final year project topic or research?
The definition of the word project as provided by the Oxford advanced learners dictionary will not serve our purpose for this article.
The final year project is the culmination of the degree - it gives students a chance to demonstrate all they have learned. The project module is very different from other modules. The project tests students' ability to: design, engineer and evaluate quality systems, research their chosen subject area.
This final year project research works, just like every other part of schooling has in its own stead some difficulties attached to it.
One of which is the nature of the final year project topics.
The difficulties attached to this is not far fetched as, even though every project topic is important but we cannot deny the fact that there are some very difficult phenomenon that will serve as a bone in one's research.
For instance if one's final year project topic has a lot to do with the menaces of cultism and it's effects on the student population in Nigerian tertiary institutions, we cannot dispute the obvious fact that it is a very important topic but the process and research will perhaps be a herculean one. How to go about this topic may not be the problem, but getting first hand information will seriously be an issue.
Another difficulty faced by students is accessibility to important (undergraduate) research materials. It is a bitter truth to state that some tertiary institutions in Nigeria have substandard libraries and old books. Where students cannot get access to updated books, they will by extension find difficulties in getting adequate information vital for the undertaking of their final year project.
Another difficulty faced by students is the nature of some of their project supervisors.
Supervisors are meant to supervise, support, advice and aid students in the course of their research but some of this supervisors only frustrate the work of the students. Some students pray fervently they escape some particular lecturers as supervisors when they finally get to the promise land.
A lecturer's strict nature coupled with their high taste of judgmental nature may scare students in the course of their project. I've seen situations where supervisors cancel the first submissions made by their students for very trivial reasons which could be easily corrected.
Another difficulty faced by students is the approval of final year project topics.
This should normally take effect as soon as possible so that students can have enough time to make research, conduct interviews and make questionnaires so that they can catch the early worm but at times, for no concrete reasons the approval gets delayed for way too long and when it finally gets approved students may not get enough time to execute the projects judicially.
Another difficulty faced by students to be honest is the procrastination on the students part.
Time management is one of the most imperative factors to be duly considered by students in school but some of the students procrastinate and when it's almost time for submissions then they rush, rush and rush their work. No it won't work well that way. It won't.
In a situation where ones final year project requires oral communication, relating with people who may not be learned or literate per-say, may be little bit of a problem. I know of a lady whose final year project was to be executed in a remote village and she was to conduct an interview with a faction of the villagers. Communicating with the women was a serious problem for her.
Just like every other phenomenon in life generally, difficulties are sure to come our way. Even roses have thorns.
It's only a matter of hard work and dedication that can ease the stress that comes along with projects. Being in the know of the challenges and the very importance of projects in molding students and preparing them for what to expect in the wider world and to be specific their field of professionalism, tertiary institutions may want to go back to the drawing board and conjure up ways to ease the stress students face during projects and also find means of getting the best out of students in the course of this important exercise.
Nobody loves low grades and the heavy credit load a final year project carries alone scares students into doing virtually everything in their power to make sure they pass and pass very well.
Nigerian students hardly get marred by difficult situations, they always find a way to make things happen.
Tough times don't last but tough people do, and this by no means is justifying the neglect on the part of both students and teachers in this situation.
When we all do what we have to do, then we can bring into reality that which we've always dreamt of.