School Fees Hike: ASUU president advises FG, says government policy should be people centered

The National President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, has urged the Federal Government to review the hike in fees in its schools.

He urged the government to do so and find a safe landing for the nation’s future leaders.

Osodeke was speaking against the backdrop of the recent hike in fees of Unity Colleges and some first generation public tertiary institutions in the country.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview on Sunday in Lagos that the hike in fees could be counterproductive.

Recall that the University of Lagos was the latest of the public universities to increase its fees from N25,000 to almost N200,000, depending on programme.

The university had announced an adjustment in the obligatory fees for both returning and new students of the institution, with effect from Sept 1, for the 2023/2024 academic session.

A breakdown of the fees by the institution showed that the mandatory charges for one academic session for new undergraduate students are N126, 325, for courses without laboratory/studio.

It also approved N176,325 as mandatory charges for one academic session for courses with laboratory and studio.

A further breakdown of the approved mandatory charges for one academic year for returning students showed N100,750 for courses without laboratory and studio, while approved mandatory charges for courses with laboratory and studio was N140,250.

Approved charges for Medical students was put at N190,250.

The institution also fixed N20,000 as utility charge to be paid by all undergraduate students, while a total of N30,000 was to be paid by all final year students.

According to the university, the review came after careful deliberations with its stakeholders (students, parents/guardians, staff unions, alumni among others).

It had explained that the adjustment in fees was in view of the prevailing economic realities, for it to be able to meet its obligations to its students, staff and municipal service providers among others.

Osodeke said that the best way out to issues was to adopt holistic approach, noting that policies should be people centred.

“I think the whole thing now boils down to the parents. These have been part of our agitations. We were fighting on the need to right some wrongs, but rather than get support, we were attacked.

“It may interest you to know that UNILAG is not the only tertiary institution that has hiked fees in recent times.

“The likes of Bayero University Kano, Benin and Abuja among others, have all done the same. What this will translate to, is for children of the poor to withdraw from school.

“However, we should be mindful of the inherent danger that may accompany such development, when it comes to vices, especially among youth. It could become a willing pool to recruit from. It is indeed sad.

“We hope the current administration will review the whole situation and find a safe landing for these our future leaders.

‘Government could set up a high-powered commission, made up of people of integrity and brain, to review all the issues, as it concerns the country’s education sector. And like I said, it has been done in the past,” the unionist said.

 

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