The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has expressed concerns over the recent hike in fees by Federal Government-controlled universities across the country, warning that the development may lead to mass dropout of students.
In recent months, several public universities have announced an increase in their tuition fees, citing the current economic hardship as their reason.
This has led to protests in various universities as students pressured the school authorities to revert to the old fees. While some schools have since budged to the demands and reviewed the fees downward, others have simply stuck to their guns.
Commenting on the matter, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, expressed fears that parents and guardians may find it difficult to pay the new fees.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics of September 24, 2023, Osodeke wondered how the students would meet up with the new fees, considering that the national minimum wage is still pegged at N30,300 per month.
“Today, universities are arbitrarily increasing tuition fees.
“Is that correct in an environment today where the minimum wage is N30,000 per month and where they have to pay rent and pay heavily for transportation? And you are enforcing this thing on the students?
“As a result of this – I can assure you that you can check if nothing is done about this heavy fee being introduced all over the country today – in the next two or three years, more than 40 to 50 per cent of these students who are in school would drop out.
The ASUU predicted that such a situation would turn the disadvantageous students into a willing tool for those who want to make the country ungovernable.
“That is what we are saying: create the environment we had in the ’60s and ’70s.
“When I was a student, the government was paying me for being a student. Let’s have an environment where the children of the poor can have access to education, not closing them. If you say school fees of N300,000, how can the children of somebody who earns N50,000 a month be able to pay such fee?”
Osodeke proposed that the Federal Government increase its educational budget “to at least 15 per cent from last year’s 3.8 per cent” to remedy the situation.
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