If you have not read or heard about the increase in the school fees of Ondo state-owned Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, the negative reactions that followed should have made you aware.
The governing council of the institution finally released fees payable by students of the institution, with the least payable being N120,000 and the highest payable being N200,000 for fresh students. If anyone at this stage thinks the between N23,000 and N27,000 hitherto paid before now in the institution is reasonable and should be maintained, that person is not in tune with current happening.
I, therefore, support moves by the state government to increase the fees payable in the school in order to be able to cope with adequately running the school. What antagonists of the fee hike have been saying which holds water is that if the government really is in dire need of money to run the institution and other functions of the government, it should look inwards and block wastages in the system.
Between February and March this year, local online newspaper, Sunshine Herald, did in-depth reports on some obvious wastages seen in the 2018 budget signed into law by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu. Some of these include N4 billion set aside for the construction of a new governor’s lodge and another N140 million to renovate the old one. Another N1.2 billion is to be spent on the purchase of cars for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, and magistrates in the state, while N1.4 billion was earmarked for gifts for the governor’s visitors.
Many are of the belief that if this and many more of the irrelevant spendings are curtailed, the state will be able to fund education and many other needs.
Like I said earlier, however, in reality, it is expected that the government increases fees payable in Adekunle Ajasin University which I believe is needed. The increment, I, however, believe is unreasonably too much and anti-masses. Jacking up fees from the meager amount of between N23,000 and N27,000 to between N120,000 and N200,000 does not portray wisdom.
Read this also: FACT CHECK: Has Nigeria failed to acquire arms since 1982, as claimed by Dan-Ali?
If the government wants to increase fees which I have agreed is needed, I believe the amount payable should never have been allowed to go beyond N80,000.
Another wise way the government could have increased the fees is to peg the fees payable by returning students to something reasonable and put some greater increase in those payable by new students. This can be continuously done every session until the amount in mind is achieved.
This is an example. Let’s say the returning students are made to pay around N80,000, new students can be made to pay N150,000. The next session, the new students who paid N150,000 last session will be in 200 level and will continue paying same amount, while the new students will be made to pay a new fee of between N180,000 to N200,000. This way, in 3 years, the institution would have regularised the increase without much drama and pains.
Read this also: Business owners in Ebonyi cry out over ‘brutality’ of state govt, tax agents
Except there is a form of review to the amount released, many students of the Adékúnlé Ajásin University will have no choice but to drop out, as they may not be able to afford the new amount when some of them should be thinking of graduating.
It is important that the government of Rotimi Akeredolu think and rethink many of its policies, as it is fast losing the goodwill with which it rode into power.
Tosin Oluwalowo writes from Akure. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or via @toluwalowo on Twitter.