By DAYO ADESULU
Many people, especially the wealthy, believe that quality education must be expensive. Just as many people in the middle class who are from another school of thought believe that obtaining education must not necessarily be expensive, arguing that it is the right of every citizen to be educated.
However, others query this assertion saying that basically, government of a country owes its citizenry basic education as individuals who expect higher education must pay for it.
In recent times, federal and state universities have increased tuition fees astronomically leading to protests by students who argue that theburden is too much for parents to bear. Managements of these tertiary institutions insist that the needs of the institutions necessitated the increment, basing the reasons for the increment on poor funding of universities. The question begging for answer is: Where is the N400 billion the Federal Government disbursed to various universities in 2013? What did they do with the money? Before the intervention fund, there was no fee hike in many of the universities, what then has informed the sudden hike in tuition fees in many federal and state-owned universities?
Speaking with Vanguard on phone, the Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities, LASU chapter, Dr Adekunle Idris said: ”It is the view of ASUU-LASU that these fees are not justifiable. First and foremost, education is the right of every citizen of this nation. Governments at all levels have the duty and responsibility to provide education to its citizens. If any government thinks education is too expensive, it should try ignorance. Human capital investment does not show immediately you do the investment. It is a long time investment. It is not like building roads that people will see and start clapping for the government. Governments want what they can show on television and people will start clapping for them. In the case of education, it takes time before you can see the fruits.
“We believe that the hike in fees moving round universities is not justifiable. ASUU national believes that what is happening in LASU is a cankerworm model that if not immediately addressed, will spread across the nation.That is what is happening now. This issue of school fees has to be redressed. What goes arround comes arround. If we do not stop it in Lagos, it will spread to other universities.
Olabisi Onabanjo University almost started it and it resulted into another serious crisis there. In LASU, students enrolment is dropping by the day because of the hike in fees. Government will always see that there are other needs in the society. The first need is to develop the human capital of a society and most of other things will fall in place.
“The N400 billion at the centre should translate as palliative for the people. However, we do know that it will take some time for it to be seen since it is meant for the development of laboratories, lecture halls and infrastructure of various universities. It is like a free fund to help universities.
“However, in the case of LASU, the LASU administration has not taken steps in order to benefit from the fund. The agreement ASUU had with state governments is that for the fund to be released to any university, a budget-monitoring committee should be set up in each of the universities to monitor the use of the fund. It is the administration of each university that will use the fund and not ASUU. We were told that we should not just get the money to be wasted without supervision.
“As we speak, LASU has not set up the monitoring committee, therefore they cannot access the fund. They feel it is between LASU and the Federal Government that it does not concern ASUU-LASU.
“We are not struggling for ourselves, we are struggling for the common people to be able to send their children to school. We are fighting for those children who are on the streets instead of being in school. They are on the streets because of the hike in fees that the bourgeoisie have used to oppress the people.We should be given equal opportunity as it has been given to the university administrations.”
“One of the most expensive public universities is Kwara State University with tuition fee of N100,000 for 100-level students who are indigenes of the state and N200,000 for non-indigenes just as returning students pay N100,000 for indigenous students. One of its students said: “though the school is excellent in terms of facilities, but the fee is outrageous for a common man like me as I forfeited my admission earlier because we were given a week to pay this whooping amount of money.“
As at 2013, Arts students in OAU paid the lowest which was N20,000 acceptance fee, N17,000 for school fees, N3,090 for accommodation for freshers.
“Acceptance used to be just N2,000 but was increased by 200% in 2010.“ Satellites paid around N6,000 for school fees. In May 2014, OAU science students paid N72,000 as fees, N20,000 for acceptance. It will be recalled that Senate of OAU had increased the fees payable by the new students in the Arts/Law/Social Sciences by 322%; Clinical Sciences and Pharmacy – 267% and the Sciences, -253%, claiming it was to improve the standard of the school among other reasons. Thus, a science student in OAU now pays over N95,000.“
Kogi State University fee was increased from N35,500 to N57,500. At the Lagos State University, Arts/Education students paid N193,750 in 2011 while medical students paid N348, 750. At the University of Lagos, the highest fee paid by 100- level students is N55,500 while the lowest is N53,500 for science and non-science respectively.
At Ebonyi State University (EBSU), the fees were N88,000 for indigenous students and N128,000 for others. Also, indigenous Law students, Medicine and Medical Laboratory pay N128, 000 just as non-indigenous students pay N150,000 besides compulsory acceptance fee of N10,000. Science students of the University of Port Harcourt pay N76,800 as school fee, N30,000 – acceptance and N19,500 for accommodation.
However, University of Benin 100-level medical students pay N114,500, while students in other faculties pay N91,000.
Federal University of Technology Minna, a fresher pays N72,000 including acceptance fee. Adekunle Ajasin University, Akongba, students pay N30,500 to N33,000 depending on the course. At University of Ado-Ekiti, 100-level students pay between N96,000 to N120, 000 while Medical students pay N200,000. On its part, University of Osun 100- level student pays N105,000 as school fees and N25,000 for acceptance.
At National Open University of Nigeria, each student pays N110,000 per session. This includes tuition, Identity card, ICT, course and examination fees for the two semesters.
Akwa Ibom State University 100-level students who are indigenes pay a total of N57,000, just as non-indigenes pay a total of N77,000 including acceptance fee of N5,000.
At Ebonyi State University, the school fee is N128,000 for non-indigenous students while indigenes pay N88,000 with N10,000 acceptance fee. Law, medical and science non-indigenous students pay N150,000 while indigenous students pay N128,000.
At Kwara State University, 100-level non-idegenes pay N200,000 as school fee and N35,000 for accommodation. However, indegenes pay N99,500 and N35,000 for hostel. The Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago Iwoyi, Ogun State minimum fee is N120,320 for art and N298,610 for medicine.
Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso students pay N92,500 for non-indigenes and N85,500 for indigenous students.
Hundred level students at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) pay N66,990 including accommodation. Freshers at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) pay N74,550 for lower courses and N81,050 for higher courses.