The recent hike in the tuition of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo by the government of Ondo State has continued to receive condemnation across various quarters.
The latest being from the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, which frowned at what it called “rape on education” in a letter addressed to the state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
The association stated that the move has not only renewed the already heightened tension in the state but will also have a negative impact on the educational development of the state.
The letter, which was signed by the NANS Chairman, Ondo axis, Adewunmi Adebowale and obtained by DAILY POST, reads: “The renewed tension in the state now both on the minds of the students and their parents, who are largely civil servants, is THE RECENT INCREMENT IN THE TUITION FEE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES UNIMED.
“This is worrisome as the major stakeholders have faulted this plans which attempts to further prevent thousands of human resources the state produce and relegate us into backwaters in the league of states known for academic excellence.
“It should be noted that the educational rankings of Ondo in the past few years is a pointer to this fact.”
According the students’ body, the University of Medical Sciences which is the third specialized medical university in Africa and Nigeria’s first specialized medical university should not be structured solely as a money-making venture.
Also stating that the outrageous increment is already having psychological effect on the students as well as parents, Adebowale maintained that under the Akeredolu’s government, two other public varsities had suffered similar fate with many indigent students not being able to continue their studies.
“We are not unaware about the paucity of funds faced by the present state Government and we fully understand that there is need where necessary to cut cost where necessary. But sir, if increasing our tuition fees won’t grow our GDP, then there’s no point increasing our fees thereby placing more hardship on the already impoverished students of Ondo State.
“Just in a year and few months, the administration you lead has increased tuition fees in Ondo State University of Science and Technology and Adekunle Ajasin Akungba and now it’s the University of Medical Sciences UNIMED. Mr Governor sir, why the rape on Education?
“The University of Medical Sciences which has been paying the amount of N 243,000 (Two Hundred and Fourty Three Thousand Naira) for 200 level and N318 (Three Hundred and Eighteen Thousand Naira) for 400 level. And with the new increment the 100 level will be paying the sum of N350,000 (Three Hundred and fifty thousand naira) and N400, 000 (Four Hundred Thousand Naira ) for none indigenes, the 200 level are to be paying N385,000 (Three Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand Naira) for none indigenes N435,000 (Four Hundred and Thirty five Thousand Naira), while the 500 level and 600 level are to be paying 460,000 (Four Sixty Thousand Naira) and 480,000 (Four Eighty Thousand Naira) and for the none indigenes 510,000 and 530,000 respectively.
“We understand Education is an expensive social service and requires adequate financial provision from all the tiers of government for successful implementation hereby not placing the burden on our helpless parents.”
The NANS chairman appealed to Governor Akeredolu to reconsider the move in the overall interest of the state, particularly students and parents who are struggling to make ends meet.
“We are using this opportunity to call on the Ondo State Government to look into the plights of Nigerian students and give it a considerate look.
“We wish to state for the purpose of peace and dialogue, advice that the state government should reverse its decision over the large amount increase in tuition fees of the University of Medical Sciences,” the letter read.
Reacting to the development, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Segun Ajiboye, confirmed the increment of the institution’s fee.
Ajiboye however said the decision to increase the tuition of the school was to ensure that the standard of the institution is maintained, adding the decision was primarily taken by the governing council of the school, and that the state government was not involved in the decision.
“Though the decision to increase in the fee was taken by the governing council of the institution and not by the state government but it was done in good faith and this was borne out of the desire not to compromise standard,” he stated.