The University of Ibadan (UI) management has bowed to pressure from students and parents and backed down on its initial plan to increase the school fee for the 2022/2023 academic session, the Education Rights Campaign has said.
The university had published a document titled “Proposed School Fees” which showed that a returning student was expected to pay between N121,000 and N173,850 while the new student would have paid between N213,500 and N318,000 for the 2022/2023 academic session.
But after students of the school through their students’ union leadership stood against the proposed fee hike and began agitation and mobilisation for resistance with the support of their parents, ERC noted that the school administration was forced to bring down the tuition from what it originally planned.
Though tuition will still be increased, it is not as outrageous as it would have been if there had not been objections, ERC noted.
According to a statement by the ERC, the fee announced by the university administration for the 2022/2023 academic session barely a week after the official date of resumption is not as outrageous as the one proposed in the leaked document.
The ERC however said that the announced school fee itself is still a significant increment when compared to the school fee charged in the previous academic session.
It said, “For instance, the new school fee which excludes accommodation fees and is grouped into bundle, utility and technology fees ranges from N50,000 to N150,000 depending on the course of study for both the new and returning students
“The ERC welcomes the significant reduction in the newly announced fee but strongly holds that it is never an act of benevolence by the university administration. Rather it is a concession forced on her by the pocket of independent agitations of students.
“This obviously suggests that a better concession, possibly total reversal of the increment, could have been won if the leadership of the students union had yielded to several clamours of students and thereby organised earlier collective resistance against the planned fee hike.”
Meanwhile, the ERC said that the struggle is not over yet.
It said, “This is because the effected increment in either the so-called school fee or accommodation fee will not translate into any form of meaningful improvement in both the living and learning conditions of the students. The lecture rooms and halls of residence will likely continue to be in a very despicable condition without any prospect for a possible improvement in facilities.
“It is in the light of this possibility we call on the Tobiloba-led SU to respect the call of over 300 students who had signed a petition requesting the convening of a congress of students as prescribed in article xiii item B of the constitution of the students’ union.
“The congress will offer students a credible avenue to democratically discuss how to ensure that the school fee including all of the additional charges translate into an improvement in both their learning and living condition in the University. Such a congress can also serve as a forum for discussion on how to take the campaign against fee hike further.
“As we all know, so far the policy of education underfunding which is rooted in capitalism is not defeated, fee hike will always be a threat. No matter the concession we have managed to win now, they will not last.
“Only a national struggle for proper education funding linked with a programme to end capitalism and enthrone a Socialist Nigeria can guarantee that our right to education is not jeopardized.
“Therefore, we in the ERC shall be willing to propose at such a congress if called, that the UI students Union should launch a national campaign for proper funding of public education and liaise with students unions/organisations in OAU, UNILAG and across the South West and Nigeria to form a national coalition to begin to organise public symposia, periodic lecture boycotts including protest and demonstrations at all state capitals and even at the National Assembly until all fee hikes are reversed and budgetary allocation to public education increased to what is required to ensure quality and affordable education for all.”
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