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Ondo govt explains hike in varsity fees

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FOLLOWING the spate of protests that have greeted the increase in tuition fee recently announced by the governing council of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, AAUA, the Ondo State government, Tuesday, explained its role in the decision leading to the increase in the state-owned university.

Students of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba ,Akoko, Ondo State, protesting hike in school fees, yesterday.

In a statement, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Yemi Olowolabi said: “It is very important for the general public and the good people of Ondo State to note that the tuition was arrived at and announced by the governing council after robust and exhaustive meetings with the university’s stakeholders, including the staff, students and parents.

“It is equally important to note that the current fee of between N23, 000 and N37, 000 charged by AAUA was introduced about 18 years ago at commencement of the University in 2000.

Listing series of problems, all arising from shortage or total lack of funds, that have confronted the university in the last five years, and stagnating the growth of institution, he said: “At the beginning, especially between year 2000 and up till year 2013, the University had it good with subventions from the state government for payment of salaries and execution of capital projects.”

In an effort to set the records straight, Olowolabi said: “The fortunes of the University began to suffer with the downturn in the economy of Nigeria, becoming more serious from 2014, when the payment of subventions began to suffer and was eventually reduced.

“It is rather unfortunate to note that, for a University of its status, no fund has been released for capital projects between 2014 and now.

“The University further slid into financial problems in 2016 when subventions were not released to the university for a period of nine months. As we speak, the University still has outstanding subventions, covering July 2016 to January 2017 and totalling N1.48 billion.”

“There is a wide gap between government subvention to the University and what is required to meet up with salary payment. The monthly wage bill for staff and pensioners is about N220 million while the monthly subvention is N150 Million, leaving a deficit of N70 million every month on salaries alone.”

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