Harvard Business School (HBS) taught that every academic degree obtained is obsolete after five (5) years. This means that whatever courses and modules we learnt to become professionals in virtually every sphere of human endeavor, five (5) years after, improvements and better taught skills have evolved. This means that we have to daily upgrade our intellectual content and capabilities, failing which we would become obsolete knowledge wise.

Global statistics suggests that over 70% of employees and professionals are working and using very obsolete degrees and qualifications to render service to the public. Some have graduated for over ten, fifteen or twenty years and have not acquired any further degrees in their discipline.

Imagine if all employees both in the private and public sectors globally, were to reapply for their jobs and to pass through qualitative, quantitative, verbal and aptitude tests to get back their jobs provided they scored 70%!

I recall in the days of Merchant Banks in Nigeria, a very wealthy monarch owned one of the Merchant Banks. He would just pick up the phone to call the Managing Director after sending him a Resume to employ an applicant from him. You might have guessed that most of the applicants would be those who might have paid sex for grades or victims of grades for sex. The Merchant Bank in question was over bloated with underserving staff and the payroll was busting. It did not equate with the level of work that needed to be done and most of the employees still needed to be trained to deliver on the job. The story goes that the MD of the Merchant Bank at some point refused to accept any more candidates from the Monarch. He claimed there were no more “vacancies”.

But he said there was no more “space”, meaning vacancies. We are told the Monarch, in a bid to disprove the “no space” theory, flew into Lagos, Nigeria, went to the Merchant Bank and found a “space” by the corner in one of the offices. He requested that a table and a chair be provided in the corner “space” that he had found to employe the applicant he just recommended. While this may today sound hilarious, where are all the Merchant Banks established at the time, today? They’ve all gone belly-up. I’m sure you can guess why.

We may not know it, but each time sex for grades or grades for sex transactions occur, the educational system is taking a bashing. For the students, they just want to become graduates to become gainfully employee. To the lecturer, it may be his “fridge benefits” or “pegs” of office to demand offer grades for sex. That instant gratification or “satisfaction” just dug a ditch in the global educational system. Someone just obtained an undeserving grade. You could liken it to an athlete that just duped, cheated to win a gold medal at the olympics. How does the fake-cheat-athlete feel, knowing, he just robbed a “faster” athlete of his glory and moments of hard work. The cheat-fake-athlete, just mounted the rostrum to accept a medal that’s not his, in the glare of millions of people, standing attention to his national anthem, while the actual hero is weeping and sulking, thinking he’s not good enough to pick a medal whereas someone doped his way past him.

Some have been honored while the medals stripped from the cheats. But no one really remembers that moment. JC Hunter I think it was, that squealed on Marion Jones. She was my best 100 meters sprinter of all times. Even before Evelyn Hash-ford or FloJo, but we don’t all remember that she made a doping confession and gave back all the medals because they were used to blackmail her when she broke up with her boyfriend.

That’s how it feels to the hard working, studious student whose spent hours and hours in the classroom depriving himself or herself of sleep to get good grades in the exams, through hard work and some bunch of cheats whose been clubbing and partying all the semesters just pays sex for grades and perhaps pays another bout of sex for job to clench the job that was meant for deserving graduates?

This paying Culture doesn’t stop in the classroom. It almost becomes a life time thing. Once a person feels undeserving of a position and has to get it through dubious means, it becomes a continuous cycle and the innocent hard working ones spent all the money they had to acquire an education and then do not get engaged to serve or work in the good organizations.

How do we even begin to address this injustice? If you are a CEO and you are reading this, it’s time to reappraise and re-evaluate your employees. If you are a lecturer and you have one way or another offered grades for sex or given into sex for grades, and you are reading this, you just contributed to the wreckage in our educational system. You just contributed to the qualified good applicants still job seeking. If you are a student and you have paid sex for grades or a lecturer is suggesting/offering you grades for sex, know that there will be no end to this mode of “payment” because you can never become “qualified” for any office unless you stop cheating to get there.

I cannot close this piece without revealing one of the experiences I once had. I received an anonymous phone call from a lady who said to me that one of my staff was working with fake School Certificate Results. That he’d worked for over 15 years with the fake results and that it was time to expose him. I was worried because it sounded like she’s always known this but perhaps a relationship went bust and she decided to spill the beans. She sent me a threatening text message that if I didn’t expose the guy she would. I called her to find out if this was some vendetta. I also asked her why she’s kept quiet this long if she’s always known it? She said she was just being a law abiding citizen and she’s felt quiet all this while that the man was earning salaries he didn’t deserve.

I ran a private check on the subject matter and sent my staff to do some ground checks. It turned out she was right. I invited the officer in question and he owned up. He had retired at this time, because I was about to ask him to resign. Well, perhaps I was not that bold to have press charges retrospectively. But I took some steps.

Do you know anyone whose currently offering grades for sex or some students who are always partying and not reading, when it’s time for exams they begin to seek favors ? You might say, it’s none of your business, but it is your business. They end up taking your grades and jobs and they cannot deliver on the job because they do not have the required skills. They still employ hard working you as their PAs to do the job for them, while they take home the fat salaries as your bosses.

A late friend of mine in our final year exams barged into exams hall for Administrative Law and coyly told me that he had read nothing because he went clubbing the night before. He said he was going to rely on me to pass the exams. I asked how he was going to do that seeing the exams sitting arrangements was going to be according to Examination numbers. He said he had wind of the fact that it was going to be “free sitting”. Free sitting means, you get to seat where you wanted, beside whom you wanted for the exams. Well, you might accuse me of aiding and abetting but hear me out first.

Back in the days, one was not considered to be a “good friend” and a “dude”, if you didn’t help a brother. Now, while I was awake all night reading for the exams, he was out with the ladies drinking and smoking and of course, he had it at the back of his mind how he was going to get pass his exams. Administrative Law can be considered the “cheapest” final year course for law students because it is almost like the Constitutional Law that was offered two years before. Sort of like the literature of Constitutional Law. It was an opportunity for law students to hit a home run by scoring at least an A! Most of us were poised for this and nothing less.

So, I offered to “help” my friend. I told him he could spy intelligently. Once I finished one booklet, I would spread it between us, so he could steal glances at the points in my script to develop his. But the numb skull hadn’t read jack! He was copying word for word like a xerox photocopying machine. I was too engrossed, trying to write as fast as I could, because it demanded a lot of volumes to clinch an A. The lecturer at this time was walking around the class very quietly. You know how graveyard silent and examination hall could be. You could hear the sound of a pin drop.

The lecturer noticed my friend’s head was oscillating like a very faulty grandpa pendulum clock!

He was very easy to spot. The teacher came to where we sat and picked up my exposed script. Picked it up and asked in a very loud voice; “who owns this script!. I say, who owns this script!! Who owns this script!!!.” I was sweating very badly now. My finger could hardly grip my pen. I checked the script when I had calmed down a bit, as though I didn’t know what was going on. I said it was mine. I pretended as though I was wondering what it was doing spread out between both of us.

The lecturer was not tripped. She just took the script back from me and wrote on it “-15%” in bold red pen. She also wrote “-15%”, same bold red pen on my friend’s script. Beyond that, she took my friend to an island where he had this very big desk and chair all to himself by himself. Well, that’s the price I paid to “help” a friend. My way out was to write ten times more what I wanted to write before to make up for the -15% I just lost. I still scored an -A. You don’t want to know what my friend scored. He flunked it. But somehow he still made it out after his badge of reseat honors.

Some guy was also caught cheating and he quickly chewed the piece of paper. They tried to force it out of his mouth as evidence. His life hug on it. He chewed very quickly and swallowed. They held his neck to prevent him from swallowing but he was bent on destroying the evidence. He did.

Do not aid cheats, they come back to cheat you. Do not sell grades. You produce quacks. Do not sell sex for grades, you come out a fake graduate.

Where’s that badge of honor when you have to wear your graduation gown and you know you deserve every bit of that moment as you shake the Vice Chancellor’s hands and collect your scrolled up Certificate!? Where’s that pride looking at your certificate hanging on the wall or your graduation picture, now dusting setting on it and you recall that you made it through dent of hard work not cutting corners?

I remember the face of shame of Armstrong the seven times Tour de France winner on Ophrah’s showing owning up that he doped all the time to win all that money, fame and prominence. The guilt of cheating didn’t allow him enjoy what he knew wasn’t his. I still see my friend “Bullet Ben” in my mind’s eyes, being led away through the airport in handcuffs in a race of a lifetime that he took the shine from hard working athletes at the 1988 Seoul Olympics 100 Meters Finals. Sex for grades or Grades for sex isn’t different.

Let’s change the narrative. We owe our society better than we are giving.

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