Fee hike at Ife

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
May 22nd, 2014
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The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State, has increased fees. The decision did not go down well with students, who described it all as an “irrational increment”. SIKIRU AKINOLA (Political Science) reports.

A new fee regime is coming at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State. The management has issued a circular, stating its plan to raise the fees paid by freshers when the institution resumes for a new session next month.

Students expressed shock over the development.

The circular reads: “Obafemi Awolowo University is presently the only federal university with the lowest fees in the country. Efforts to review the charges have been in the pipeline for some time now. It is now imperative to take further action on this matter in view of the following: overhead cost allocation and subvention received from the Federal Government has dwindled by over 50 per cent compared to what the university received five years ago.

“Despite the decrease in the overhead allocation from the Federal Government, inflation has eaten deep into the meager allocation to the university and therefore makes the current fees paid by fresh students unsustainable.”

Under the coming regime, fees may go up by more than 100 per cent, depending on the faculty. For instance, the management proposed N72,400 for fresh students of the faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences against the N17,150 paid by freshers last session.

Students to be admitted in to Faculty of Sciences will pay N78,400. It was N22,150 last session. The proposed fees for freshers in the faculties of Clinical Sciences and Pharmacy are four times higher than last year’s. The students will also pay N20,000 acceptance fee.

A statement by the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Abiodun Olarewaju, said the Senate has approved an adjustment in the municipal charges payable by freshers. Municipal charges include payments for utility services.

The introduction of the acceptance fee in 2011 led to a violent protest, which culminated in the closure of the university and proscription of the Students’ Union activities. The ban on the union was lifted three months ago.

The university said it did not take that decision without considering students’ plight, comparing its new fees with other universities, such as like University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), the University of Ibadan (UI) and the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN).

The SUG has reacted to the proposed fees hike  at its emergency meeting of departmental presidents, faculty executives, hall executives council and the Association of Campus Journalists in the TV Room of the union building.

In a statement signed by the SUG president-elect, Isaac Ibikunle, and General Secretary, Olatayo Shittu, the union described the proposed fees as an “irrational increment”.

The statement reads: “We may have all come in different ships, but we are in the same boat now as Great Ife. The leadership of the union is designing a strategy to engage the management to reconsider this shocking hike in fees.”

Reacting, Olanrewaju said: “The Senate of OAU has unanimously agreed to further improve on the ratings of the university as the best in Nigeria, especially in terms of sound and quality teaching for its students. It, therefore, enjoins parents and guardians of new students to assist the university in this regard by being financially active in the payment of this fee.”

Olarewaju pointed out that the Senate has constituted a committee to take care of the financial constraints of indigent students, adding that OAU would continue to do its best to uplift the standard of education in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the proposed fee regime has sparked a protest. Last Tuesday, students demonstrated on Ife-Ibadan Highway, causing gridlock on the expressway.

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