Saturday, September 26, 2020

Limkokwing University mysteries raise eyebrows

A chronological breakdown of a CV belonging to Samwel Ogenga, a Kenyan lecturer at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, shows that he would have started his primary school at the age of one. That is mystery one.
Mystery two is where exactly does Onalenna Odhiambo, a full-time student, work?

Mystery three concerns the alteration of student marks in such manner that those who would have failed can proceed to the next level.

According to his CV, Ogenga was born in 1959, finished his ‘A’ levels at the age of 14 and was an officer with supervisory powers in the Kenyan public service at the age of 17. On the other hand, Sunday Standard has established that the earliest a child started primary school in Kenya around that time was at the age of six years. Primary school took seven years, O’ levels takes four years and ‘A’ level two years.

Information contained in Ogenga’s CV and passport suggests a biologically impossible phenomenon ÔÇô different birth dates. The CV says that he was born on December 12, 1959 while a photocopy of his passport shows December 13 as the birth date.

After three years of university, Ogenga worked for just one year before working as deputy headmaster for three years. Thereafter, he became full headmaster. Nowhere does it show that he ever worked as a teacher and worked his way up the normal way. He was registered as a teacher in his home country almost 10 years after he joined the profession. Although he has no professional qualification in law, Ogenga teaches a course called Legal Aspects of Business to associate degree students at Limkokwing.

Limkokwing’s Public Relations manager, Mercy Thebe, sees no oddity with regard to the latter. She states: “I am confident that he is qualified for this job as Legal Aspects of Business discusses the legal implications in business and does not imply that one has to have a law qualification.”

According to Thebe, Onalenna was initially hired as a full-time registry staff from March 2007 until July 2008 when she was put on a staff development programme undertaking a BA in International Business as a full-time student and was transferred from the registry department to the library as a part-time staffer. Onalenna also happens to be the wife of the head of the business school, Benedict Odhiambo.
Our information though is that the transfer happened not in July last year but last Thursday after receipt of a questionnaire from Sunday Standard.

“She was working at the registry yesterday,” a source said on Thursday.
The one other detail in dispute is about the university having a staff development programme. While Thebe says that other university employees have benefited from the programme, at least four lecturers say that they don’t know anything about its existence and that Onalenna would be its only beneficiary.

As a university employee, Onalenna reportedly has unrestricted access to the database that contains students’ marks ÔÇô hers included. On the other hand, Thebe says that the “Campus Management System in the registry department has a security feature and is only accessed by three specialised registry staff under the supervision of the registry manager”.
Sources say that they are not aware of any such system.

With neither lecturers’ knowledge nor consent, students’ marks are altered, enabling those who would have failed to proceed. Sunday Standard has documentary evidence of a student who scored so badly in one module that she would have failed. However, two days later and without her taking another test, her marks were increased by six points and her test score pushed up by three grades. Thus despite her performance, the student passed and proceeded to the next level. Lecturers who spoke to us said that this practice is rampant at the varsity
The explanation offered is that if students fail to proceed to the next level and the Ministry of Education withdraws its sponsorship, the university would lose an awful lot of money. Each student gets sponsorship of P19 500 a year. In laying out a hypothetical scenario, a lecturer says that if 1000 students were to fail, the university would lose P19.5 million in tuition.

“The university cannot afford to lose that amount of money,” the source says.
Thebe denies that student marks are ever doctored: “Students’ marks are never increased because if that was the case we could not have students retaking modules because of poor performance.”

At a meeting with the school management last October, a senior officer in the Department of Student Placement and Welfare is said to have queried why students’ marks kept changing.

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