Fill Out A Form Correctly – The Pain The Loss


                 Fill Out A Form Correctly – The Pain The Loss

Chukwuma Osondu

We are in a time of digital synchrony. Big word, you ‘ll say. It simply means action, unity, in the same time scale. This is the language of today.
Your telephone connects with everything. In the bank, your Bank Verification Number (BVN) tags with your account, name, date of birth, and other data in many places.
When there is a mistake in spelling of name, date of birth or other vital data, you have many queries to answer.
It may take you to the court where you are  asked to invoke the names of your dead parents. Parents who perhaps,during their life time were too afraid nearing the precincts of any court. Here you are as if your parents are  now facing you. You declare to the world that your name was input wrongly into a system after you filled out a form ‘correctly’ in the bank, school, work, church or government department. Now, you depose to the correct name. You also part with some administrative charges.
This is a ‘simple thing’ you ‘ll say and we all know it. But get to its throes, then you will understand that it is not as simple, especially at some moments of your life.
Scenario two. You have just completed your course in a school. It is time to leave or go for state compulsory service. You go for various clearance. Some take you a whole week. You fill out forms as you have done in the past years. Finally you think you are through with the process.
Alas, your document comes out with a spelling error of your name!
Comfortable excuse used to be typo error  in those days of typewriters. Nowadays, it is computer.  Who is responsible? Who has done it? At this point no one accepts the blame. Those who input the data or yourself. Who accepts in the market place that his mother is a witch? Nobody.
But that does not take away the problem – misspelt name that must be changed. You may not be at the same location where the form was filled out at the first instance. God helps you to travel and come back safe because not everyone has  been so fortunate. Financial cost is only secondary – the pain, the loss are many.
All of us young and old can relate to the problem of wrong imput of data particularly mis-spelt names, wrong telephone numbers, incorrect date of birth. These cause delays or stop your moves. Some are refused visa because of misspelt names buoying up inconsistency. Those in sea freight and shipping business can tell you more about cost and demurrage arising from incorrect names. Leave out deliberate ones by those who think they are clever.
The blame may  not always be heaped on data entry personnel who sometimes may be uninformed of relationships of letters and words in a multinational state or global village.The point of entry may have had a hand – filling out forms correctly.
Our basic education from primary school says that forms should be filled out  in capital letters. Lettering should be the standard acceptable in our country. It should be legible. Vast knowledge of calligraphy is not required. Print your name boldly and clearly enough for all to see. Simple, basic rules that save lives, time, arguments and money.
 As our teacher used to say, “write clearly because some Examiners don’t see well.” “Write for the blind to see it.”
Today, some are ignoring this basic education. They contend you need not bother about filling out forms in a particular way because you have the computer and phones. Others say the issue here is that of human nature. Yet, some think it is because systems are programmed in the English language. They may have some points.
Even so, basic education is still a matter here. We need to bear in mind  that digitalization has not wiped out chunk of what we should do right  – caring about basic lack in our society. It is getting worse by the day. You see young men and women who hardly keep a ball pen on their person or bag. There are no pockets (vogue). But they are comfortable to ask for same ball pen from an old folk to hurriedly fill out a form. Again, ‘hurriedly filled out’ in small letters that are joined!
Ask the BVN offices in the banks, biometric centers, election bodies, tax registries, courts, examination Boards, schools, of their experience with misspelt names. Then you will better appreciate that basic education as little as properly filling out forms can save lives, time and energy.
Teach your children today that forms are not filled out in small letters even if one is left with limited space.
For those who input wrongly and cause agonizing days of pains and losses should please improve their skills. Begin by learning basic alphabets of major languages in your country. To know more may predispose you to know better.  Do not wait for the ‘National Service’ language crash course. Knowledge of basic alphabets helps one to understand spelling in names and  word relationships.
I have personally gone through the ordeal of someone substituting ‘U’ for ‘O’, in my name.  What  a nightmare! Did I fill out correctly the form? This is a different issue that a ‘yes’ answer may sound immodest at this point. But take the pill and  rest.
Next time you fill out a form make sure you PRINT – BOLDLY, CLEARLY  IN BLOCK LETTERS. Don’t join text. Do it right. Take your time to input correctly. Garbage in garbage out. Tell others to do it right and ensure that Basic Education Returns®. It saves all of us the pain, the loss.
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 The Author is a blogger –