Square Pegs and Round Holes


March 24, 2016

Open Book Exams – The Triumph of the Information Age

open book exams

I remember the first time I was told my exams would be in the open book format. I looked around me at the rest of the class to be sure I was not dreaming. Of the 30 or so people in that class were two Naijas. So, come exam day, me and my homey loaded every available textbook, class note and other materials we could get our hands on. I remember my heap of books being so high that I could barely see the guy by my side.

So they blew the whistle and I looked at the first question. It went something like: “Stating the models that support your argument, pick a country as a case for a technology colony and predict which of their enabling foreign owned technologies will likely chart the path to their industrial revolution….”

open book exams 1

Confusion. Whatever happened to simply defining the theory, its models and giving an example??? I think I must have spent the best part of 15 minutes of the 3 hour paper resetting my psyche before I could continue. The books and downloads did not help!

It was clear after finishing my post graduate degree from that school why some graduates are taught to think and others to know. Yet knowledge is not static. Those who are taught to know will struggle with adapting to new situations/conditions and change while the former will remain agile, adaptable and innovative while thriving in a diverse environment.

Not too long ago, I saw a poser on a friend’s wall about how two students from Ghana topped the WAEC examination score board. Good for them. Those same students would probably do better at examinations than the best South Africans, Ethiopians and students from most European countries for that matter. But think how much less innovative Ghana is than any of the countries mentioned. It’s the same way I look at other indices when picking a school for my child. While most parents are looking at examination scores and how children are able to recite all kinds of stuff like states, capitals and even governors by heart and do hard crunching maths ahead of their grades; I look at learning environment, diversity/social and networking opportunities, sports facilities, behaviours and general confidence of the students I come across. After that, I believe the missing link in completing the raising of the child belongs to me.

Let me close with the following quote from Albert Einstein –

“Education is not the learning of facts, it’s rather the training of the mind to think.”


Image source: Getty Images; Anon

Shocking the rule of law into being…


I live in an estate where the managers, who are the original promoters, subject us to all kinds of abuse. They make rules without recourse to the residents; they will not show us expenditure records or get us involved in the budget process or determination of annual service charge. They have been known to lock us out of the estate and even threaten to arrest our family members, while we are away at work, using the local police. When we fought back by approaching a higher police command with our case, they got someone to write us from Force HQ in Abuja, etc.


My Response

  1. Get your lawyers to advise you with a view to petitioning the estate management to the LASG, Commissioner, AIG and IG of police, and the President and publish it in at least two national dailies.

          This will achieve high embarrassment, de-marketing and speedy resolution of this               issue according to the dictates of the relevant LASG laws guiding this.

  1. Also take the estate to court and hinge your case on the NICON town and VGC judgements on similar issue.


Nigerians don’t listen and institutions hardly do their jobs until you cause noise and high embarrassment.



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