Hike in Fees Could be Counterproductive—ASUU

July 24, 2023

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged the federal government to review the recent hike in the fees in universities and unity schools across the country.

Recall that the fees of federal universities and unity colleges were recently increased, causing many Nigerians to raise eyebrows amid dwindling purchasing power and a hike in the prices of goods and services.

The government was looking to increase its revenue and cut down on borrowings to fund its budgets.

The National President of ASUU, Mr Emmanuel Osodeke, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos, warned that the hike in fees could be counterproductive, urging the government to find a safe landing for the nation’s future leaders.

The University of Lagos was the latest of the public universities to increase its fees from N25,000 to almost N200,000, depending on the programme.

The university had announced an adjustment in the obligatory fees for both returning and new students of the institution, with effect from September 1, for the 2023/2024 academic session.

A breakdown of the fees by the institution showed that the mandatory charges for one academic session for new undergraduate students are N126,325 for courses without a laboratory/studio.

It also approved N176,325 as mandatory charges for one academic session for courses with laboratory and studio.

A further breakdown of the approved mandatory charges for one academic year for returning students showed N100,750 for courses without a laboratory and studio, while approved mandatory charges for courses with a laboratory and studio was N140,250.

Approved charges for Medical students were put at N190,250.

The institution also fixed N20,000 as a utility charge to be paid by all undergraduate students, while N30,000 was to be paid by all final-year students.

According to the university, the review came after careful deliberations with its stakeholders (students, parents/guardians, staff unions, and alumni, among others).

It explained that the adjustment in fees was in view of the prevailing economic realities for it to be able to meet its obligations to its students, staff and municipal service providers, among others.

Also, unity schools hiked fees from N45,000 to N100,000, a more than 150 per cent increase.

Mr Osodeke said that the best way out to issues was to adopt a holistic approach, noting that policies should be people-centred.

“I think the whole thing now boils down to the parents. These have been part of our agitations. We were fighting on the need to right some wrongs, but rather than get support, we were attacked.

“It may interest you to know that UNILAG is not the only tertiary institution that has hiked fees in recent times.

“The likes of Bayero University Kano, Benin and Abuja, among others, have all done the same. What this will translate to is for children of the poor to withdraw from school.

“However, we should be mindful of the inherent danger that may accompany such development when it comes to vices, especially among youth. It could become a willing pool to recruit from. It is indeed sad.

“We hope the current administration will review the whole situation and find a safe landing for these our future leaders.

“[The]Government could set up a high-powered commission, made up of people of integrity and brain, to review all the issues, as it concerns the country’s education sector. And as I said, it has been done in the past,” the unionist said.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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