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Education, News

AMOSUN’S BREACH OF SOCIAL CONTRACT WITH OOU STUDENTS ON SCHOOL FEES: MATTERS ARISING

As concerned students of the above named university, we are compelled to bring to the notice of the general public and all stakeholders the breach of the social contract by the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun which he entered into with students in Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU with the promise of at least a fifty [50] per cent reduction in the tuition fees as part of his electoral promises in the build-up to the 2011 gubernatorial elections.
While other state governors like Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state and Rochas Okorocha of Imo state have followed in the footsteps of Chief Obafemi Awolowo by keeping to their electoral promises and have provided free education up to secondary level, while the University level enjoys very low tuition of an average of N15, 000, governor Amosun of Ogun state where Chief Awolowo hails from has failed in this regard but has rather raised the fees on assumption of office to a whooping N270, 000 [two hundred and seventy thousand naira] per student.
In Akwa Ibom and Imo states, the governors have even gone a few notches higher in their promises on education by awarding scholarships to indigent students, payment of bursary to students of higher education, development of facilities in state-owned institutions, prompt release of funds to institutions of higher learning, sponsorship of students to Ivy league schools abroad and donation of new academic lecture halls to schools even outside its ownership among others.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State on the other hand has not paid bursary to students in Ogun state since assumption of office, has made zero allocation to tertiary institutions in the state, little or no infrastructure has been developed in OOU, rather he has chosen to inflict more burden on the students and their parents by extorting more money from them through exorbitant school fees.
Although, the governor has made seeming concessions on the OOU crisis by authorizing the re-opening of the school portal from, 3rd-11th June, 2013 for all students to make payment of their school fees and update their records, failure which they will have to take a leave of absence if they are only able to pay up to 2011/2012 session but cannot pay up to the current 2012/2013 academic session.
It also insisted that those who are unable to pay up to last session may either be asked to drop-out of the institution or repeat the sessions they owe, this was not what we bargained for at the polls, hence it is totally unacceptable.
But the governor must consider the fact the tuition fees in the OOU has already reached a whooping N270, 000 per session for each student in major disciplines like Engineering, Law, Medicine while courses in the Faculty of Art, Social Sciences etc. averages N210, 000 per session, this is outrageous for a state-owned university where the governor is promising free-education at all levels.
Let us take a scenario where some of the students in the Ogun state-owned university are now owing up to three [3] academic sessions, which amounts to N810, 000 [eight hundred and ten thousand naira] per student at an average of N270, 000 [two hundred and seventy thousand] per session.
How does the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun expect such a student to raise the funds within the limited time frame it is allocating to the students?
Some families are even known to have about two [2] students in the same institution and this will bring their fees to paying a whooping N1, 620,000 [one million, six hundred and twenty thousand naira] for three sessions.
Where will parents get such money from in just a week or two when some of them have already sold their only farm land to pay part of the fees in previous sessions due to the harsh economic realities evidenced by the growing unemployment rate and declining productivity in the country occasioned by more industries closing down?
So what will be the fate of families with about three [3] to four [4] children in the same school? The answer can best be imagined than experienced.
Even in the Ogun State Civil Service; a Director-General of any Ministry, Department or Agency who can be regard as the highest paid worker on the state’s pay roll cannot cough out such huge funds required to liquidate the outstanding tuition fees in Olabisi Onabanjo University within the one week grace period for payment by the institution, let alone ordinary farmers and artisans predominant in the state’s agrarian economy.
What the government has failed to realize is that, the majority of students in the institution are either from poor families and have to be on the streets of major cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Ibadan hawking and hustling to sponsor themselves to obtain this now “Highly Priced Education” in OOU, at a cost that has now earned the university the status of the “Most Expensive State University in Nigeria”, even when its facilities and academic standards cannot even compete with some of its Privately owned counterparts in the country who are known to charge such outrageous tuition fees.
Also, we want to state that students who complied with the directive by the school management that they obtain a certificate from their heads of department indicating their current level, to serve as a confirmation of their studentship and submit same to the Information Technology Center for the update of their profiles before payment can be made are yet to have their profiles updated till date which if the policy is implemented as it is will be barred from paying for the sessions they are able to source funds for and automatically from the examinations.
It is therefore imperative that the payment portal be opened beyond the deadline to enable students who may have their fees ready to pay their outstanding fees and update their records, while those who are unable to raise the required funds be allowed to write the first semester examinations and allowed to pay during the second semester.
Also, arbitrary components in the tuition fees like Departmental levy of N1, 000 [one thousand naira] which students are now paying twice should be abolished as they are already paying same at their departments.
In the same vein, the N15, 000 [fifteen thousand naira] ICT levy should be abolished as it amounts to fraud for the school to still obtain money from students under the same heading when Exxon Mobil, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC] and its Joint-Venture partners have already built, equipped and donated an Ultra-Modern ICT Center to the institution.
The center is already being put to use by the University’s ICT department for the General Studies [GNS] Examinations it conducted in the first bath of the examinations which it used in piloting the computer based model of examinations.
We appeal to the government to stay implementation on the “no school fees, no examination” policy which it is currently pushing for in the institution as the government has also failed in its own contract by failing to reduce the school fees since its assumption of office on May, 29, 2011.
The present economic realities in the country has even complicated matters for families as they are unable to meet up with responsibilities as and when due, hence the implementation of the policy is ill-timed and will only pose a greater danger to the society.
Failure to suspend the implementation of this policy under the present situation will only bring about negative implications for the institution, state and the nation at large as its ripple effect will be the increase in the number of students who will be forced to drop out of the university out of frustration, some of them in their final year who have already spent over six years in the school for courses whose duration is four years owing to the inconsistent academic calendar in the school in the past.
To this end, we hereby demand that the governor should keep to his social contract by bringing about a drastic reduction in the tuition fees in the university to a maximum of N90, 000 per student for Faculties of Engineering, Law and Medicine which currently pay the highest fees in the institution while other faculties should not pay more than N60, 000.
Pending the implementation of this contract, we hereby demand the immediate suspension of the “no school fees, no examination” policy and that all students should be allowed to write the second round of the harmattan semester examinations scheduled to begin on the 24th June, 2013.
We are aware that officials of the Student’s Union Government [SUG] of the university have been brutalized by security operatives on the orders of the state and offered some level of compensation to withdraw from leading further protests on the subject, which is now evident in their total silence on the issue as no member of the OOU, SUG leadership has offered any statement on the way forward on the crisis.
Finally, we demand that the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun as the Visitor to the University should keep to his social contract by directing that all school fees in the university be reduced by at least 50 per cent as he had promised during the 2011 electoral campaigns, which he made to the students of the university as well as other tertiary institutions owned by the state, with this he will not have to pressurize students with deadlines before they pay as it will be more affordable for them to pay on schedule.

Signed:
David Chris. Matthew Akinsanya.
Cordinator. General Secretary.
For: Concerned Students of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.

OOU

Olabisi Onabanjo University students at the school’s mini- campus gate

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Discussion

One thought on “AMOSUN’S BREACH OF SOCIAL CONTRACT WITH OOU STUDENTS ON SCHOOL FEES: MATTERS ARISING

  1. Reblogged this on campusravegist.

    Posted by campusravegist4u | June 13, 2013, 7:24 pm

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