Two days to exit of Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun as the Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, having completed his five-year-single tenure, the students of the university have expressed their displeasure over the recent increment in school fees, demanding a reversal to the old fees within two weeks from today, Friday.
The students said they had been gravely disturbed since the fees were increased and consequently all along been engaging all relevant authorities in and outside the university to actualise a reversal of the fees with the efforts yielded no positive results till today.
They named those they had engaged to include the management team led by the outgoing vice-chancellor, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Education, Mr Wahab Tokunbo and the Chairman, Lagos House Committee on Education, Mr Olayinka Ogundimu among others.
The university was on Friday, December 11, announced the increment of its tuition fees from N25, 000 to N67, 048.50 (representing 168 per cent increment) and to be applicable only to fresh students and those to be admitted subsequently.
However, the students under the aegis of Students’ Union Government and in a statement signed by their President AbdulBasit Ashade and Public Relations Officer, Zeenab Adams, said the union is primarily concerned about the welfare of members and would continue to project same for actualisation in a peaceful manner.
The students said they quite understood the economic pressure the fees hike would have on the parents, guardians as well as the students themselves, especially as regards the already harsh economic effects of COVID-19 that people are still grappling with.
They vowed that the union would stop at nothing in ensuring the increment is properly reviewed as this is a very challenging time in the country and that “we must be sensitive not to compound this burden on indigenes and residents of Lagos State.”
The students said the primary purpose of establishing LASU is to impact and impart value in indigenes and residents of the state for a better Lagos and therefore the authorities should reverse the fees within 14 days from today, January 8, 2020, to an old fee.
The students said pending expiration of 14 days, it is expected that the management team, members of the governing council, state government officials and other relevant stakeholders would have met to proffer solution to the increment.
The union, therefore, said “Payment of school fees by newly admitted students should be suspended and portal for payment closed until a resolution is jointly reached by all parties and also directive is given by the Students’ Union body to continue the payment of their school fees.
Reacting to the matter, the school management said the university had no option than to increase the fees as it had done because of what it called the increasing huge financial responsibilities before it.
The Coordinator of Centre for Information Press and Public Relations of the university, Mr Ademola Adekoya, who reacted on behalf of the university via a statement made available to newsmen, insisted that the increment was a decision jointly taken by all the stakeholders in the university including the students and various staff unions and that the increment is applicable only to newly admitted students for the 2020\2021 and those that would come after them.
He said the increment became necessary for the university to be able to meet the increasing financial obligations that would further lead to its progress.
LASU is currently the second-best university in Nigeria queuing behind the University of Ibadan as rated by the Times Higher Education in its latest world universities ranking and the university is also one of the universities in the country that have highest numbers of candidates seeking university admission.
Adekoya said the state government as the proprietor could not all alone raise enough funds to sustain let alone improve the quality of services being delivered by the university and that has earned it second-best university status in the country.
He said the university had maintained the old fees for many years and would not be able to cope again on its mandates satisfactorily should it retain the old fees.
He said every student of LASU irrespective of course of study is now being engaged in rigorous training on one entrepreneurial skill or the other that would equip them to stand on their own economically even before graduation.
“So, the increment is inevitable and therefore should be seen as a necessary step to further consolidate the quality of education being offered by the university,” he stressed.
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