School of Basic Studies
University of Port Harcourt
The Basic Studies programme was established in 1978. It was purely remedial, and took care of two categories of UTME candidates. a) Students who had the required entry credits, but low UTME marks.
The Admissions Unit compiles the list of such students for the School of Basic Studies. All Schools (now Faculties) had students in the programme, which was non-fee paying. The Director of the programme used his own office while the Secretary (now Officer) and a staff or two shared an office.
The Basic Studies Unit and Programme became commercialized and self-financing in 1994/95 academic year, with 700 students. Today, students’ population has more than tripled and the School has built an ultra-modern School of Basic Studies Complex. It comprises offices for the Director, Assistant Director and Administrative Staff (Table 1), a library, a computer laboratory, an Auditorium of 1000-seating capacity, two 200-seat lecture hall, a Recreational Lounge, and Restaurants. The complex is sure to providing adequate space requirements at the moment.
The School of Basic Studies has indeed, made a lot of progress in the last decade, and some of the reasons for this include:
a) Most Secondary Schools, particularly the public ones, have been grossly under funded, and rather ill-equipped for their role of preparing the young for tertiary and further education. These products are thus deficient in basic Elementary Mathematics, English Grammar & Usage and Science.
b) The serious problems of public examinations, exam malpractices, which frustrate many good students, but benefit the lazy and indolent
The offshoot of (a) and (b) is the search for alternative entry route into tertiary education, and the consequent very large numbers of students seeking admission into “Prelim” Programmes.
This explains not only the phenomenal growth of the Basic Studies Programme in University of Port Harcourt, but also the serious responsibility of careful planning, effective execution and honest actualization of the goals of the school’s programme.
The primary aim of the School of Basic Studies is to prepare as many of these young school leavers, who fall into this category, as possible, particularly those from the ELDS states and the “catchment” states of the university, for university matriculation. Now, admission target is 70:30 ELDS: Non-ELDS ratio. Although this ratio is rarely achieved in most departments due to insufficient numbers of applications from the ELDS states to fill their quota, efforts are made to favour applicants from the ELDS states as much as possible. This is in line with the very idea of setting up the Basic programme in the first place.
The programme consists of two semesters of intensive teaching; with a minimum of one week for revision, and examinations that usually run over a 5-day period. Our examinations are taken very seriously and no form of examination malpractice is tolerated. As a result, the students have now acquired an unparallel academic culture in the firm belief that only hard work can see them through to the degree programme, and have a lot of confidence in the assessment process.
At the end of the session, the Director of the School of Basic Studies compiles the results of the two semesters for all the students and submits to the School of Basic Studies Academic