EDITORIAL: The old ghost of “favours for marks” rides again

University of Rwanda, College of Education. / Internet photo

Some days ago this newspaper took the University of Rwanda to task for not adopting the digital world  when it came handing out academic transcripts- it took ages.

Well, that now seems to be the least of its worries. Last week Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) announced that it had arrested a university lecturer for soliciting money for marks.

It brought to the fore very valid suspicions that had somehow failed to be proven or simply ignored. Now the University of Rwanda Students’ Guild has claimed that the practice goes even further with some lecturers seeking sexual favours from female students in exchange for marks.

While the student body should be hailed for bringing up the subject, it shares some share of blame for the proliferation of the practice. The signs were all there, the whispers in university corridors pointed to the fact that the practice was rampant, but it did little to call attention to it.

Little was done to dig up the dirt thereby laying a firm foundation for tomorrow’s section of the population who will grow up with the belief that they can buy their way – by whatever means necessary – all the way to the top.

So, what measures will the university’s administration put in place to rout out the practice that can easily become gangrenous if it is given little attention? For a university lecturer to be arrested could have been made possible because money leaves behind a paper or electronic trail, but how are they going to deal with sexual favours?

The university will have to strengthen its monitoring system and go after every rumour and suspicious signs. In most cases, there is no smoke without a fire and old habits die hard, a corrupt lecturer will surely pounce again.

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