The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has condemned the planned increment of school fees by tertiary institutions in the country, and demanded the suspension of increase in fees. Many institutions have increased their fees by 100 to 200 percent, which may force some students out of school.
Already, most federal and state universities have raised their fees, to cushion the effects of funding challenges in public institutions due to the current inflation in the country. They justified the hike on poor government funding of tertiary education and rising inflation in the country, which shot up to 22.4 per cent, the highest in 17 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
So far, the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) University of Uyo (UNIUYO) University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) Federal University of Health Sciences, Azare (FUHSA) Federal University, Lafia (FULAFIA), Federal University, Dutse (FUD) Federal University, Kashere (FUKASHERE), University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) have all announced increments in their school fees and other sundry charges payable by students.
Others include the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Bayero University Kano (BUK), Niger Delta University (NDU), National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), University of Ibadan (UI), Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, among others.
Reacting to the development, the National Public Relations Officer of NANS in a statement released yesterday, declared that the government’s action is insensitive and embarrassing. The association also stressed that the government has what it takes to fund education and make it accessible, noting that the introduction of the students’ loan scheme was a shame and a bait to make Nigerians accept fee increments.
The association stated that there is no justification for an increase in school fees across tertiary institutions and Unity Schools, adding that those who have implemented the policy should reverse it immediately.
According to the statement; “We must state categorically that there is no justification for increment in school fees across our tertiary institutions and even Unity schools. Our demand is clear and simple; the attempt to increase school fees must be suspended. And, those that have floated it must reverse it with immediate effect,” NANS explained.
NANS also called on Nigerian students to prepare for an all-round protest until the federal government reverses the policy, similar to the one during the prolonged ASUU strike.
According to their words; “We call on Nigerian students to brace up and be prepared for an all-round protest as was done during the prolonged ASUU strike until the federal government reverses this policy. The increment of school fees at UNILAG and the planned increment across tertiary institutions in the country has shown this administration to be a very insensitive one.
“As a matter of fact, it is most ridiculous and embarrassing that the government will be introducing fees increment without thinking of rescuing over 133 million Nigerian people from multidimensional poverty. Increment in fees across tertiary institutions will only complicate the poverty situation of the country and also increase the number of out-of-school children.
“As an association, we believe that the Nigerian government has what it takes to massively fund education and make it accessible. In fact, the student loan that was introduced by the federal government is nothing but a sham and bait to lure the Nigerian people into accepting increments in fees payable.
“Beyond the fact that the terms of the loan are ridiculous, history has taught us that not every applicant will be considered. And, even if all of them were to be considered, it still does not justify an increment in an economy that tops the unemployment index. Rather than give loans, the government must provide grants and scholarships for students,” NANS statement concluded.
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