By Ismail Auwal
The increase of university fees that began as “mischievous speculation” via social media following the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU) recently ended 8-month strike has started to become reality for students of no fewer than 5 institutions as the respective institution announced the tuition increase.
According to information obtained by SAHELIAN TIMES, the tuition at Federal University of Health Sciences Azare, Federal University Dutse, University of Maiduguri, University of Oyo, and University of Nigeria has raised by a least of 150% for both returning and new students, and other universities are expected to follow trends in early 2023.
This development has met with criticism from parents and students and stakeholders that thinks the development will only widen the gap of illiteracy in the country.
In an interview with SAHELIAN TIMES, some students decried the fact that there is actually rarely an academic session without one or two incidents of students who are unable to pay their fees.
Asiya Abubakar, a level 3 female student at Federal University Dutse, stated, “Last academic session we had to raise the fees of over 3 students in our class among ourselves, yet a classmate had to drop a semester because she cannot afford to pay, and that is before the hike we are talking about.”
When contacted by SAHELIAN TIMES a student leader of Federal University Dutse, who don’t want to be named said that, ” the university have a tradition of inviting us to meetings where important decision like this is to be made, but on this we were not invited.
“We, too, only see the letter as you did on the internet.”
However, he stated that when they contacted the University administration, a meeting with the student leaders was scheduled for next week.
He also said that there have called for the intervention of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
No one can predict with precision how the walk would affect students right now, because many of us are suffering in silence,” according to Femi Ajebola of Federal University Oyo.
“We must wait until the following year to see how many students would be able to afford the stipulated rates, he said.
A lecturer with the department of Mass Communication, Dr. Muhammad Hashim commenting on the development said the trend will not solve any university problem. Typical of the fire brigade approach of Nigerian elites, “they’re now attacking the symptoms instead of the genesis of the malady. Education is a social right that’s capital intensive.
“However, when one really knows and appreciate the value of education, then one would free up resources and invest more in education.”
He added that the government of the day just wants to wash off its hands from educating Nigerians. Not only that, the government is just pushing universities into becoming revenue generators.
According to Hashim, this will not augur well for Nigerians. For instance, our “don’t care attitude” toward elementary and secondary education has left us with generalised insecurity.
” Now that we want to kill the only remaining source of sanity in our educational system, we should expect more dangerous trends in our national lives,” he said.