Opinion: On the N250,000 LASU fees brouhaha (A rejoinder)

by Afolabi Legunsen

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Supporting these crazy unending hikes, without asking for the necessary structure to be put in place is quite insensitive and anti-people as a friend put it. Permit me to add UNREALISTIC to that.

READ: [On the N250,000 LASU fees brouhaha, more fees needed by Cheta Nwanze]

When I was in the final year in engineering school, in 2008 (not LASU though), the new VC announced an increment in school fees. Since I was studying a ‘professional’ course, according to him, my new fees was going to be N31,000. Up from N14,280. That was not so much, considering that non-indigenes of the state would have to cough out N61,000 (before then, they were paying a little over N15,000). What changed after the increase? Nothing! We still had only one permanent lecturer who was a PhD holder, one visiting PhD-holder, no professors at all and about 3 other lecturers. Please don’t ask about equipping the workshops and labs! I’ve already answered that, somewhere in between the lines. 6 years on, indigenes now pay a little over N160,000 and non-indigenes pay about N200,000. What has changed? A few more lecturers but there is still only one lecturer who has a PhD, no professors. And yes, the ETF sponsored N300million department buildings have finally been completed.

If you want to argue that fees increase is going to change anything around here, then you should first explain in figures, what has been done with the monies generated by these same institutions through their respective part-time courses, diplomas and post-graduate programmes.

I’ve been trying to steer clear of the arguments that hike in school fees will lead to multiple drop outs.  It’s not like graduates are getting good jobs, if any, and it’s not like they have much skills to offer anyway. Thinking sarcastically now, I feel the government is even helping them save money and time.

I think the unnecessary and undeserved importance attached to BSc should be reduced before we start talking about higher education being optional and for those who can afford it. I would not have bothered wasting 6 years in the university (and about 2 years before that waiting for university I applied to to start admitting new students), trying to earn a BSc if I could earn a living wage with my very good SSCE result.

This is not a private sector issue as Cheta wants to argue. I remember a junior staff who was employed as a school cert holder in government agency I spent my NYSC service year working with. He was employed around the end of civil war. He was a child soldier or so as claimed by the office rumour sections. He is still a junior staff, level 5 or so as at 2011! Those who were employed as graduates when he was employed were already Assistant Directors and Deputy Directors. That should be level 14 and 15 respectively. If I had joined the agency then in 2011, I would have been his senior. By now I would have been promoted to level 9. Yes, he should have upgraded his education at some point, I agree. But he was just earning between 20 and 30 thousand naira as at 2011.

Someone talked about loans. Really?! Who’s going to manage it? SLC or DoED? Don’t get me wrong, it’s actually a very brilliant idea… as brilliant as SURE-P.

Supporting these crazy unending hikes, without asking for the necessary structure to be put in place is quite insensitive and anti-people as a friend put it. Permit me to add UNREALISTIC to that.

A question for you, if you are an employer of labour, if I was working in your organisation, can you help calculate a meaningful contribution to solely financing my younger brother’s education in LASU considering that I have other financial obligations like house rent and the likes?  I could send my résumé to you to determine my take home in your organisation if you can’t find my profile on LinkedIn.

I think we should all continue to pretend like school fees hike is a good gesture and continue with our daily lives.

 

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

 

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