By Olasunkanmi Akoni
LAGOS — As part of moves to douse the rising tension caused by the recent increase in the tuition fees of students of Lagos State University, LASU, the state government said the proposed fees would only be paid by incoming students that would gain admission into the school in years to come.
Earlier, in a special bulletin from office of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Obafunwa, at the end of an emergency meeting of the school’s senate, the authorities had announced exemption of old students from the proposed fees.
The state government had directed that prospective students of Arts/Education are to pay N193,750; Social and Management Sciences, N223,750; Law, N248,750; while those in Communication/Transport, Sciences, Engineering and College of Medicine are to pay, N238,750, N258,750, N298,750 and N348,750 respectively as against present fees which ranges between N25,000 and N62,500.
Briefing state House correspondents, Commissioner for Information, Mr. Aderemi Ibirogba, said the state government had not increased school fees for returning students of the school, saying there was no bases for the violent protests that had continued to trail the hike.
Ibirogba, who explained that the state government decided to increase the tuition fees of the institution to raise the school to international standard, accused opposition parties in the state of using the students union to malign the state government in the union’s struggle.
The commissioner said the state government was being magnanimous by excluding the returning students from the new fees regime, adding: “The old students will still pay the old tuition fees of N25, 000 till they graduate. It is the intending students that will be paying the new fees. They have options whether to take the offer or leave it, because the government does not believe in impossibilities mentality. We know what we want to achieve with the new requirement and the government will ensure that the school is no-longer a dumping ground.”
According to him, in most schools, whenever the school authority decides to increase school fees, it is binding on every student regardless of student’s status .
“Legally, what we have done is not even an increase, because it would have been an increase if the amount they are paying before is increased, but nobody is increasing the fees of LASU students. Those that have not secured admission cannot call themselves students of the school. It is just a matter of giving your figure for those who want to enroll in the university. So, we have not had contract with the new potential students because they are yet to be considered as students. We can only call it increase if the returning students are involved in the new fee.
“The state government has done everything possible to ensure the school is not a glorified secondary school has it was hitherto called. We ensure accreditation of most of their courses. In fact, 85 per cent of their courses have accredited and the remaining ones will still be accredited. The school employed more lecturers to strengthen the standard of the school so that the graduate of the school can compete with any graduates any university in the world.
The issues of backlog of exam results have been resolved. Gone are the days when someone will graduate from 1994 and will wait for 2004 before getting result has been resolved. Part of what we are doing to improve the standard is to salvage their certificates”, he added.
However, Obafunwa, stated that the exemption was one of the far reaching decisions taken in response to protest by the students’ union body of the institution over increase in tuition fees.
The resumption date for returning students of the University has also been extended by one week, as old students now are expected to resume studies on Monday, December 5, 2011. However, all students are expected to vacate the University premises in view of the fact that they are still on vacation.
Meanwhile, new students who have been offered Provisional Admission for the 2011/2012 academic session are to commence their registration and payment of school fees with immediate effect. Deadline for registration and payment of school fees ended on Wednesday, November 30, 2011, according to the bulletin.