By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) and Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) on Friday kicked against the recent fees increments for students by the Management of the University of Ibadan asking “workers, parents and students to be united in a struggle to force immediate and unconditional reversal.”
The two groups in a statement signed by Samuel Ochoga, ERC Branch Secretary made available to newsmen described the increment
in the accommodation and training fees of medical students by the Senate of University of Ibadan as another ‘tactic to worsen the economic condition of poor parents and students in the country.”
According to the groups ,”the decision of the UI adminstration to hike the accommodation fees and health professional training levies will compound the economic hardship of students and parents from working class background,
The Secretary maintained in the statement that the increment was an attempt to deprive poor students of quality education, adding that there is the need for “a probe panel that will comprise of representative of Parents, Students and workers Unions ASUU, SSANU, NASU and NAAT to investigate how money realized from the accommodation fees paid by students in the last ten years was spent”
“It was gathered that the university administration in its new schedule of payable fees for the 2017/ 2018 academic session has increased the accommodation fees expected to be paid by undergraduate students from N14, 000 to N30, 000. The accommodation fee for postgraduate students undertaking master programme has also been hiked from N20, 000 to N40, 000 while that of those undergoing Ph.D. programme has also been increased from N40, 000 to N120, 000 per bed space” he said.
The Secretary added “to mass of students in basic medical and clinical sciences, this new schedule of fees represents a double tragedy to them. This is because an amount range from N75, 000 to N100, 000 is added to their payable fees. The implication of this is that medical and clinical science students in the University of Ibadan will be paying close to N122, 650.”
“The DSM and ERC strongly condemn this increment in accommodation levies and introduction of the so called health professional training levies. Both the increment in the accommodation fees and the introduction of a new fee will no doubt compound the economic hardship under which mass of the Nigeria students especially those from the working class background and their parent groan.”.
He pointed out that ” despite the claim that Nigeria’s economy has exited recession; the socio-economic condition of virtually all working class parents in the country has gone from bad to worse. It is an astounding paradox that when various data continue to give an impression of a decline in inflation rate, the prices of goods and services across the country continue to be high. The minimum wage of N18, 000 which is less than $50 per month has been due for an upward review since 2016. Yet, there is no guarantee that this will be implemented even if it is eventually approved especially now that the 2019 general election is at the corner. Over 27 states across the country continued to owe workers salary arrears that range from 5 to 15 months. ‘
The two groups emphasized that “it is in the light of this pathetic economic condition under which most working class parents across the country groan at this present moment that DSM and ERC describe the decision to hike the accommodation fees and introduction of a new fee particularly for students in medical and clinical sciences as unfair and wicked. “
“Therefore, we call on students, parents (especially from the working class background) and workers within and outside the university to be united in a struggle to demand for immediate and unconditional reversal of this unfair decision. DSM and ERC fault the attempt to use the argument around poor funding as a basis to justify both the increment in the accommodation fees and introduction of health professional training levies. This is because beyond the question of underfunding is the issue around the continous maintance of outrageously high salaries and allowances as well as opulent lifestyle often enjoyed by the Vice-chancellor and other appointees like Bursar and Registrar among others who preside over the resources at the disposal of the university, in spite the crisis of underfunding.