August 26, 2021

Students groan as AE-FUNAI hikes hostel fee from N70,000 to N300,000


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By Arogbonlo Israel

SOME medical students of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Abakaliki, Ebonyi (AE-FUNAI) have decried the recent hike in accommodation fee by the school management.

In a memo issued August 2 by the university to announce the new fee, the total school fees for medical students came to N513,500, while accommodation fees sky-rocketed from N70,000 to N300,000.

By September 2021, 400 level medical students of the university are expected to have commenced their clinical studies at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.

More importantly, the concerned students are expected to be resident at the teaching hospital which is about 25 kilometers from the university campus at Ikwo. However, the medical students’ hostel at the teaching hospital is still under construction and expected to be completed next year. Thus, the university has two options: one is to suspend the clinical training till the students’ hostel is completed. The second is to devise another means of accommodation for the students. 

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The university, to ensure students’ academic activities are not suspended, negotiated with a private estate owner to rent his fully furnished building, with 150 KVA stand-by power generating set for uninterrupted power supply, located about 200 meters from the hospital, as hostel for the student, Vanguard gathered.

Students react

One of the student leaders who did not want to be mentioned, urged the management to look into the matter, especially with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “Well, this issue at hand is a critical one that needs critical reasoning and understanding. The university management over the years is doing their best to ensure that the students get the best in virtually everything.  Meanwhile, the students of AE-FUNAI College of Medicine never expected the sudden increase in fees, but the school management has said that it was for the good of the students and we, the students unanimously are not against the tireless efforts of the university management. Our stance is that the school management should have a rethink considering the economic situation of the country. Also, not everyone in the department can afford the payment; all we ask for is a level playing ground and affordable fees for everyone.”

Student Union reacts

The President of AE-FUNAI Students Union, Ikechukwu Agbo, threw his weight behind the management. He said: “This is a welcome development. The medicine and surgery programme in AE-FUNAI is licensed and it takes a lot of efforts for the management to have achieved that feat.

Just  like other institutions that take years for them to achieve such feat, it is worthy to note that ours is exceptional as the management through its efforts, was able to achieve timely accreditation.Quite alright that the economic situation of the country is difficult, but this is an exceptional course that requires a lot and all hands must be on deck to ensure that the university meets up with the prerequisites for accreditation of its clinical programme.

Hence, this decision by the management is in the best interest of the students and should be embraced by all.”

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of AE-FUNAI, Elom Iyke Ubochi, has urged the students to be patient with the management as the decision was made in their interest. “This interim measure, which will cost each student N300,000, will ensure that their academic activities are not put on hold.It  will also help in sustaining   the accreditation of their programme by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, who are expected to come for another round of accreditation exercise by February 2022. “

It is also important to note that the hostel fees the students are paying are not even enough to offset the total cost of renting the building as the students are only 38 in number. Management will augment the shortfall.”

Vanguard gathered that a meeting has been scheduled to hold between the school management, parents and other stakeholders over the matter.

Vanguard News Nigeria