Students’ Persistent Failure in English Language Examinations in Nigeria Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 2 November 2016

Students’ Persistent Failure in English Language Examinations in Nigeria


Education is now a global product with institutions worldwide competing for students and finding ever more creative ways to satisfy student needs and preferences. The optimism and belief in educational progress has gingered the new wake of marketing approaches that boarder on how to properly deal with the intricate issues of qualitative educational service, value as well as customer satisfaction. With the continuing rise in the preference for flexible distance learning, educational institutions are finding that when students and faculty have significantly different cultural backgrounds and learning styles that the expectations of the learning experience can be unfulfilled. Today in Nigeria, education is the responsibility of government, religious organizations as well as private individuals, although in recent years, the private sector has entered the market providing educational services at all levels. There are over 90 universities in Nigeria with more than 2.000.000 students enrolled in these universities.

Of these students, less than 100,000 are registered in the National Open University of Nigeria which is the largest of the universities that provide distance education in the country. With such large student numbers, competition between the public and private universities for students has intensified particularly over the last decade. As a consequence, the need to develop strategies for attracting students has become more important.

The contribution of technologies to education processes has been immense with students and faculty each learning to adapt to an environment of continuous change and opportunities. This paper therefore, seeks to explore the marketing approaches that could galvanise the growth of the Open and Distance learning institutions, and is subsequently predicated on the view that a competitive advantage in marketing of the Open and Distance learning programmes can be attained by customizing learning experiences for students in a pro-active and constructive way.


The fast competition that is taking place in the current global market has affected the educational sector. In Nigeria for instance, it has been observed that when education is taken for granted not only the state institutions providing conventional education are prevailed. Starting from the early 1990’s higher education has been provided by either public or private universities either conventionally or extensively. The increase in the products and services that are provided by different parties has affected the educational institutions and the power of marketing communications is utilized in order to pull more customers both by private and state institutions. The marketing of education is a controversial issue. Although the opinions on the signification of the educational institution as a product and the students as the customers still remains arguable the transformation of the instruction process as a student-based model requires the utilization of the marketing opportunities are used.

Teaching has been increasingly developed as a learner-centered model, shaping the process as a life-long learners experience to match their existing knowledge and skills is crucial. At the open and distance education institution level, being market oriented means adapting a client-centered perspective and managing the institution in a way that matches the needs of primary and secondary clients. This student-based model is not much different than the client-based utilization of marketing strategy. In the marketing approach, the needs and desires of the customers are given a primary and major importance so they are treated as “kings”. When this strategy is employed in the open and distance education, the course programmes and materials are observed to be shaped in accordance with the needs and desires of the students.

The multimedia used is also observed to be very common with those that are presented within the most appropriate channels to the students. The customer “king” then transforms into the student “king”. Marketing is about achieving organizational goals, and these are determined by the values of the organization (its culture) and shape its decision-making. Good marketing techniques will definitely help the Open and Distance learning institutions achieve set goals that will help them identify with those clients for whom they offer an appropriate range of learning opportunities.

The objective of this study therefore, is to discuss the notions like advertisement, public relations, personal sales and fairs that make effecting marketing communication strategies possible in a nationwide manner and compare the Open and Distance learning educational institutions in Nigeria and other nations of the world to concentrate on the marketing of effective educational programmes, quality educational service and the appropriate pricing of the educational programmes because these are some of the major approaches that can satisfy the wishes of the consumers of their educational services.


Open and Distance Learning is the combination of on-line learning (e-learning) and other distance education delivery methods. It is the introduction, utilisation and application of ICT to enhance open and distance education thus implementing open and distance learning policies in order to make learning activities more flexible and enable these learning activities to be distributed among many learning venues. It is an amalgam of two approaches to different forms of education that focus on expanding access to learning. It is a sort of blended and distributed learning, which incorporate elements of tutor mediated and self-directed and resource-based learning process.

The pedagogical shifts from face-to-face traditional way of teaching or even the traditional distance education (called correspondence education) to on-line education is what Open and Distance Learning is all about. It represents significant changes in the assumptions on which teachers, learners and support staff go about their business and to the technological infrastructure and skill base that support the moves.

According to Reju S. A. (2007), this type of education is characterised by two factors: its PHILOSOPHY and its use of TECHNOLOGY. The Open and Distance Learning Philosophy aims at removing barriers to education allowing students to study what they want, when they want and where they want. In summing up the Open and Distance Learning Philosophy, it aims at increasing educational ACCESS and increasing educational CHOICE of students.

As for the TECHNOLOGY, in order to achieve a complete migration from the “post-box and hard text” delivery of conventional distance education to on-line education, operators must satisfy at least three preconditions: First, the technical infrastructure needs to be transparent to users. Second, its operational framework must address teaching and learning decisions when it describes its functions. Third, systematic and local professional development in online teaching and learning using a “just-in-time” and “just-for-me” approach must be available to academics (Nunan, Reid, Mc Causland 2002 :10)



The nature and characteristics of Open and Distance Learning gave it wider opportunities as advantages over the classical and conventional system of Education:

• Accessibility – overcoming barriers related to:
– Prior academic credentials
– Time
– Physical location
– Financial constraints
– Personal characteristics
– Social responsibility
• Flexibility and easy access to instruction in order to ensure broad availability of educational opportunities to all characterized by:
– Frequent admission periods
– Self-pacing
– Optional support services (tutoring, counselling, advising) • Learner control over content and structure

• Choice of delivery systems: Instruction delivered through a variety of media including print and other information communication technologies to learners, Learners have control over the course delivery system(s) that suits their purpose

• Accreditation – characterised by:

• Recognition of courses accredited by other institutions for transfer of credit.

• Opportunities for learners to “challenge” courses for credit.

• Provision for “experiential learning”.

• Instruction by a mode other than the conventional face-to-face method • Physical separation between the teacher and the learner • Openness disregard age, previous level of academic achievement, and other factors, creating artificial barriers to education as a life-long pursuit in a democratic environment • Cost-effective system of instruction independent of time, location, pace and space • Used for a variety of learning situations: primary, secondary, tertiary, vocational and non-formal education • It allows for wider Range Extension

• Thrives on economy of scale
• It is weapon of mass instruction
• ODL is more suited to Adult Learners
• It democratises and liberalises education
• It is more of learner centred and learner friendly programme which includes all in its planning and execution
• Focused on QA, well designed instructional packages, student support: It gives learners Qualitative Education and Course Range.


A good marketing strategy has two parts. The first includes an overview of your industry and how your company fits within it. It identifies who your marketing should be targeted at and what challenges you may face when trying to read your target audience. This part also helps you hone in on your specific marketing goals (i.e. increase client base by %). The second part is all about what you will do to reach to overcome the challenges identified in part one and how you will reach your goals (i.e. develop brochure/ website, etc.) The following issues can create a fall of patronage in the Open and Distance learning system.

• Poor quality educational service, poor value and customer dissatisfaction. • Poor and inadequate designing of educational programmes.
• Unnecessary overpricing of educational programmes

• De-emphasising quality, especially service quality • Regular students frustration in learning how to get on-line (especially for novices). • Time lapse between student input and feedback -Time lapse between need for learner support and resolution • Occasional internet provider downtime (server usually inaccessible to students) • Student become less active and less self-directed in the learning environment which depends largely on individual motivation and initiative. • Occasional feelings of isolation- Potentially less group support for learners leading to isolation and possible non-completion of programme • Instructional design for group activities and group interaction more demanding on the instructor • Demands large effort and cost to develop appropriate materials • Demands large effort to create and maintain the technological infrastructure

When these problems persist, the message becomes very clear; ‘Distance Education is not for everyone’. – Unfortunately, the problems becloud the fact that Open and Distance learning is not for undisciplined learners nor inflexible instructors.


What is Quality assurance?

According to Wiley (2009), Quality assurance, or QA for short, refers to a programme for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service, or facility to ensure that standards of quality are being met. It is important to realize also that quality is determined by the program sponsor. QA cannot absolutely guarantee the production of quality products, unfortunately, but makes this more likely. Two key principles characterise QA: “fit for purpose” (the product should be suitable for the intended purpose) and “right first time” (mistakes should be eliminated).

QA includes regulation of the quality of raw materials, assemblies, products and components; services related to production; and management, production and inspection processes. It is important to realize also that quality is determined by the intended users, clients or customers, not by society in general: it is not the same as ‘expensive’ or ‘high quality’. Even goods with low prices can be considered quality items if they meet a market need. QA is more than just testing the quality of aspects of a product, service or facility, it analyzes the quality to make sure it conforms to specific requirements and comply with established plans.

Accuracy of Quality Assurance

There is an extensive process of trial and error in order to ensure quality assurance. By the end of the trials you arrive at an acceptable process that helps you decide the reliability and efficiency of the sample. The process involves meeting specifications such as performance measures and depends on environment operation. The cost of resulting in failure is very high which result in the process of Quality Assurance to be extensive and it is acceptable to delay production until all tests are done and double-checked. Steps for Quality Assurance Process

• Test previous article
• Plan to improve
• Design to include improvements and requirements
• Manufacture with improvements
• Review new item and improvements
• Test new item

The process for Quality Assurance is very rigorous and requires a lot of testing and planning. The team or firm has to comply with previous requirements, implement new requirements and improve the old item. Other than following requirements, the team or firm has to comply with consumers needs.


Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large Simply stated, marketing is everything you do to place your product or service in the hands of potential customers. It includes diverse disciplines like sales, public relations, pricing, packaging, and distribution. In order to distinguish marketing from other related professional services, S.H. Simmons, author and humorist, relates this anecdote. “If a young man tells his date she’s intelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he’s saying the right things to the right person and that’s marketing. If the young man tells his date how handsome, smart and successful he is — that’s advertising. If someone else tells the young woman how handsome, smart and successful her date is — that’s public relations.”

You might think of marketing this way. If business is all about people and money and the art of persuading one to part from the other, then marketing is all about finding the right people to persuade. Marketing is your strategy for allocating resources (time and money) in order to achieve your objectives (a fair profit for supplying a good product or service). Yet the most brilliant strategy won’t help you earn a profit or achieve your wildest dreams if it isn’t built around your potential customers. A strategy that isn’t based on customers is rather like a man who knows a thousand ways to make love to a woman, but doesn’t know any women. Great in theory but unrewarding in practice. If you fit the classic definition of an entrepreneur (someone with a great idea who’s under-capitalized), you may think marketing is something you do later — after the product is developed, manufactured, or ready to sell.

Though it may feel counter-intuitive, marketing doesn’t begin with a great idea or a unique product. It begins with customers — those people who want or need your product and will actually buy it. Entrepreneurs are in love with their ideas, and they should be. After all, why would anyone commit their energy, life savings, and no small part of their sanity to anything less than a consuming passion. Because entrepreneurs are passionate about their idea, product, or service, they innocently assume other people will feel the same. Here’s the bad news — it just doesn’t work that way! People have their own unique perceptions of the world based on their belief system. The most innovative ideas, the greatest products, or a superior service succeed only when you market within the context of people’s perceptions. Context can be many things, singly or simultaneously. To name a few, you may market to your customers within the context of their wants, needs, problems solved, or situation improved.

Entrepreneurs need to be aware of many other contexts, such as social and economic trends or governmental regulations, which we’ll discuss another time. People don’t just “buy” a product. They “buy” the concept of what that product will do for them, or help them do for themselves. People who are overweight don’t join a franchise diet center to eat pre-packaged micro-meals. They “buy” the concept of a new, thin, happy and successful self. Before you become consumed with entrepreneurial zeal and invest your life savings in a new venture, become a smart marketer. Take time at the beginning to discover who your potential customers are, and how to effectively reach them. Without a plan, your entrepreneurial dream is really wishful thinking. While a marketing plan can be a map for success, remember that the map is not the territory.

A strategy that ignores the customer isn’t an accurate reflection of the landscape. A good marketing plan can help you focus your energy and resources. But a plan created in a vacuum, based solely on your perceptions, does not advance the agenda. That’s why market research, however simple or sophisticated, is important. Just keep in mind that research attempts to predict the future by studying the past. It reveals what people have done, and extrapolates what people might do — not what people will do. Planning is imperative, research is important, but there’s no substitute for entrepreneurial insight. After all, as Mark Twain wrote, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus”.

Marketing strategy’

Wikipedia dictionary defines ‘Marketing strategy’ is a process that can allow an organization to concentrate its limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. A marketing strategy should be centered on the key concept that customer satisfaction is the main goal.

Services marketing

Services marketing, as the label suggests, relates to the marketing of services, as opposed to tangible products (in standard economic terminology, a tangible product is called a good). A typical definition of a service (as opposed to a good) is thus: • The use of it is inseparable from its purchase (,i.e. a service is used and consumed simultaneously) • It does not possess material form, and thus cannot be smelt, heard, tasted, or felt. • The use of a service is inherently subjective, in that due to the human condition, all persons experiencing a service would experience it uniquely. As examples of the above points, a train ride can be deemed as a service.

If one buys a train ticket, the use of the train is typically experienced concurrently with the purchase of the ticket. Moreover, a train ride cannot be smelt, heard, tasted or felt as such. Granted, a seat can be felt, and the train can be evidently heard, nonetheless one is not paying for the permanent ownership of the tangible components of the train. Services (by comparison with goods) can also be viewed as a spectrum. Not all products are pure goods, nor are all pure services. The aforementioned example of a train ride can be deemed a pure service, whilst a packet of potato chips can be deemed a pure good. An intermediary example may be a restaurant (as the waiter service is intangible, and the food evidently is tangible in form).


It is the explicit recognition of the tensions between old and new learning styles which our paper seeks to highlight as the basis for attaining a marketing advantage. To allow students to learn in styles that commence with recognition of diverse foundations provides an environment where students are given greater opportunity for academic success. The view that all students can be blended into one learning environment as though one stylized type of pedagogy would be suitable for all students in a mixed cohort, presumes that a standardized approach to learning is indeed appropriate. The concept of ‘one size fits all’ education may have been appropriate in old economies where students represented a homogenous group from the same cultural group with a known entry level skill set.

Where students do not fit this form of stereotyping it makes sense to approach the task of designing an appropriate learning environment which suits the majority of learners. Eisner also claims that communication and multiple intelligence literature suggest that effective teaching involves reaching students, and that reaching students involves taking their frames of reference into account. Knowing where our students are coming from and meeting them there may increase the chance that students will absorb the information we seek to teach (Eisner 2003, 34-5).

Indeed, the arrival of technologies to supplement, enable, enrich and mediate learning experiences challenges traditional education pedagogies. To actively respond to such pressures in a way that is positive can contribute to academic outcomes. Businesses and governments have called into question the relevance of quality of the education that has been provided by post-secondary institutions as well as their continued ability to deliver education in a manner that the new forces of the globalizing marketplace would deem efficient (Montgomery, L., M. & Canaan, J., E.) (2004). Nagy (2007) demonstrated via a case study that student outcomes could be dramatically improved by specifically recognizing the needs of the cohort and tailoring assessment tasks to suit the cohort. This style of customization is a reaction to market needs in a proactive way to ensure that student success is achieved without variation in the quality or content of course design.

To take this analysis one step further, for a chosen unit of study where it is known that the student population incorporates variable educational foundations within the student population, a university could recognize this variation and provide 2 streams of learning for the same material using alternative pedagogies to achieve outcomes. One alternative could embrace student centered learning and the other teacher centered learning. Each of the alternatives may then employ the best practice pedagogies appropriate to the identified style of learning, and utilize different assessment strategies. Students are then free to choose which alternative learning environment best suits their learning foundations and preferences, at the commencement of the subject. This approach has the potential to promote a more confident attitude to learning with less alienation from the learning environment, greater student self esteem and improved learning outcomes.

The term learning styles is used as a description of the attitudes and behaviors which determine an individual’s preferred way of learning. Some students tend to focus on facts. Some respond strongly to visual forms of information; others are able to learn more from verbal forms – written and spoken explanations. Some prefer to learn actively and interactively; others function more introspectively and individually. No one learning style is better than another; it is simply that people learn in different ways.

The best learning style is the one that works for an individual in a particular situation. Those universities with sufficiently large and diverse student cohorts may be able to further refine a process of variable pedagogies. Costs would not be significantly different and yet the provision of alternative learning experience can be employed for both on campus and distance education institutions representing a way of marketing subjects that may entice particular students to particular universities.

Our suggestion places the emphasis back on the student; with the student selecting the mode of learning best suited to their personal learning style.

These choices made available to students can thus be regarded as part of a suite of marketing tools that universities can make use of. Generally, action must be taken to develop a complete marketing program to reach consumers (life-long learners) by using a combination of factors which can be referred to as the 4P’s.

The 4 P approach to marketing includes product, price, place and promotion are illustrated as follows: Product: It is a good, service or idea that the consumers need for satisfying their wants. Physical product can be described in terms of its physical characteristics and is what most people actually think of as the product

Sussane and Chris(2010) suggest that education is a product, and see distance education as a product instead of a tool for distributing education. They say that in order to most efficiently use our resources, the needs of the student/consumer should be assessed. By doing so, we can learn from the students and then apply that knowledge to attract future students while meeting the needs and improving upon the services offered to the current students. The products have a different name, logo, color and physical attributes.

We can say that Distance Education institution is a brand and a brand is a way of differentiating one product from another; the greater the perceived similarity of products, the more important the brand in establishing the differences. Some schools will clearly feel that they are different from others, or that the market perceives differences, which makes it less important for them to establish their corporate identity (Galbraith, K. 2003).

Price: This concept embodies more than a value that someone will pay for it. The meaning associated with price changes is contextual. Institutions have different pricing policies and all institutions compete against each other to increase their application and enrollment rates. Pricing policies will impact student choice between institutions.

Place: It is a means of getting the product into the consumer’s hands. The personality of the place sends messages to the target audience. The vehicle which is used to reach the students can be a physical location or a virtual space where the connection speed of internet used, e-mail, can serve as a differentiating mechanism.

Promotion: Promotion is a means of communication between the seller and buyer. It includes advertising, public relations, personal selling, publicity, and sales promotions. If one higher education institution wants to enroll more students than other, it will need to use corporate advertising or engage in activities that create a liaison between the students and the institutions. Publicity provides media coverage to the institutions and visibility can create confidence about an institutions reputation and quality perceptions.

Marketing initiatives include print based products and internet-based advertisements, brochures, and word-of-mouth (WOM) communication. According to Buttle (1998: p. 242) WOM has been shown to influence a variety of conditions: awareness, expectations, perceptions, attitudes, behavioral intentions and behaviour. Because of these factors positive WOM may affect the awareness of the open and distance university and this awareness can turn the behavioral intentions of students. Fairs are also benefited to communicate with the students. Every year education fairs should be organized and all universities that run distance learning programmes should be represented.

Where the cost of registration is same between universities, the image of the university plays an important role in the process of selecting that university. The image consists of two criteria. One of it is tangible criteria like, academic staff, profile of the graduated, facility of the university, curriculum, and opportunity for internship etc. Intangible criteria are good or bad experiences about university, negative or positive WOM.

Internally developed strategy

Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and/or video signals which transmit programs to an audience. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of the whole, such as children or young adults. Here, the FM station of NOUN becomes important. In his essay, John Durham Peters wrote that communication is a tool used for dissemination. Durham stated, “Dissemination is a lens- sometimes a usefully distorting one- that helps us tackle basic issues such as interaction, presence, and space and time…on the agenda of any future communication theory in general” (Durham, 211). Dissemination focuses on the message being relayed from one main source to one large audience without the exchange of dialogue in between. There’s chance for the message to be tweaked or corrupted once the main source releases it.

There is really no way to predetermine how the larger population or audience will absorb the message. They can choose to listen, analyze, or simply ignore it. Dissemination in communication is widely used in the world of broadcasting. Broadcasting focuses on getting one message out and it is up to the general public to do what they wish with it. Durham also states that broadcasting is used to address an open ended destination (Durham, 212). There are many forms of broadcast, but they all aim to distribute a signal that will reach the target audience. Broadcasting can arrange audiences into entire assemblies (Durham, 213).

Effective use of the University website

According to Ms.Bindu Rathore, CEO WebTotal Marketing, “Many Educational Institutions have a website, but they don’t know how to combine offline and online marketing to increase their profits and reduce their advertising costs. She therefore recommended that the concept – WebTotal Marketing is now available to help such Educational institutions to have a complete web marketing system so they can enhance their brand and attract more prospect students at an affordable cost.”

This postulation is basically predicated on the fact that students have become very Internet savvy these days and are cautious in their selection of institutions of higher learning. They actively participate in forums and group discussions along with feedbacks from past students to analyze a particular college or university before they make their decision.

University Publications

The word publication means the act of publishing. To publish is to make content available to the public. While specific use of the term may vary between country, it is usually applied to text, images, or other audio-visual content on any medium, including paper or Electronic publishing forms such as websites, E-books, Compact Discs and MP3s.


Promotional merchandise, promotional items, promotional products, promotional gifts, or advertising gifts are articles of merchandise that are branded with a logo and used in marketing and communication programs. They are given away to promote a company, corporate image, brand, or event. These items are usually imprinted with a company’s name, logo or slogans, and given away at trade shows, conferences, and as part of guerrilla marketing campaigns. The giving of gifts goes back throughout the hostory of man. Gifts would be, and still are, given for various reasons including: to welcome, for appreciation, and for celebration. In the late 20th century a new industry evolved around the concept of giving gifts. Industry and commerce recognised the benefits that could be gained by a company and corporate organisation in giving gifts to existing and prospective customers. Promotional merchandise is now used globally to promote brands, products and corporate identity.

They are also used as giveaways at events like exhibitions and product launches. Almost anything can be branded with a company’s name or logo and used for promotion. Common items include t-shirts, caps, key chains, posters, bumper-stickers, pens, mugs, or mouse pads. The largest product category for promotional products is wearable items, which make up more than 30% of the total. Most promotional items are relatively small and inexpensive, but can range to higher-end items; for example celebrities at film festivals and award shows are often given expensive promotional items such as expensive perfumes, leather goods, and electronics items. Companies that provide expensive gifts for celebrity attendees often ask that the celebrities allow a photo to be taken of them with the gift item, which can be used by the company for promotional purposes.

Other companies provide luxury gifts such as handbags or scarves to celebrity attendees in the hopes that the celebrities will wear these items in public, thus garnering publicity for the company’s brand name and product. Brand awareness is the most common use for promotional items at 12.59%. Other objectives that marketers use promotional items to facilitate include employee relations and events, tradeshow traffic-building, public relations, new customer generation, dealer and distributor programs, new product introductions, employee service awards, not-for-profit programs, internal incentive programs, safety education, customer referrals, and marketing research. Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase. According to Galbraith, K. (2003).

“Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation.” Its importance varies by product, industry and customer; defective or broken merchandise can be exchanged, often only with a receipt and within a specified time frame. Customer service may be provided by a person (e.g., sales and service representative), or by automated means called self-service. Examples of self service are Internet sites.

However, In the Internet era, a challenge has been to maintain and/or enhance the personal experience while making use of the efficiencies of online commerce. Writing in Fast Company, entrepreneur and customer systems innovator Wiley, J. made the point that “Online customers are literally invisible to you (and you to them), so it’s easy to shortchange them emotionally. But this lack of visual and tactile presence makes it even more crucial to create a sense of personal, human-to-human connection in the online arena.” From the point of view of an overall sales process engineering effort, customer service plays an important role in an organization’s ability to generate income and revenue. From that perspective, customer service should be included as part of an overall approach to systematic improvement.


In many countries, open and distance learning methods have become an effective and equitable means of providing learning for people in all situations and of all ages.

Our postulation in this paper is that the effective marketing of the operational infrastructure for the delivery of an Open and Distance Learning programme is critical to its success. Yet all too often this element is overlooked or seen as incidental to the design and quality of the distance learning materials and programmes themselves. We then went ahead to address very salient issues that can help the Open and Distance Learning institutions adopt new approaches as regards the rapid strategic marketing of ODL systems that will ultimately lead to increased success in the operation of the system worldwide.

These issues include

• coming to grips with the socio-cultural drivers of education in the 21st century

• anticipating the future and activating the potential of innovation as a prerequisite for outstanding success and

• interpreting latent educational needs and effectively creating a demand for the ODL system worldwide.


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