Students in many tertiary schools across the country have reportedly been forced to resort to begging and borrowing due to the increase in school fees.
The Students Solidarity Group against Fee Hike, the group advocating for educational rights, disclosed this sad situation during a press conference held in Lagos on Thursday.
The group, comprised of students and activists, claimed that recent fee hikes have placed an enormous burden on students and their families. Many cannot afford the escalated costs and are left with no choice but to resort to begging in order to continue their education.
Addressing the newsmen, Femi Adeyeye revealed that research they conducted showed that thousands of students are on the verge of discontinuing their education because of the financial strain brought upon them by the hike.
Adeyeye disclosed that many students are forced to roam the streets, pleading for assistance to cover their basic educational expenses, and accused the government of being insensitive to the plights of the masses.
He said, “The demands of the #FeesMustFall movement remain sacrosanct. We have maintained that Nigeria has the resources for the government to fund quality and affordable education.
“The major constraint is the leaning of the government to neoliberal policies that do not prioritize investments in social services such as education and health of the people, but finds it ‘economically wise’ to procure 160 million Naira SUVs for 469 members of the parliament, among a litany of wastages.
“In line with the principles of democracy, we have conducted a referendum on the reduction of fees and will be releasing the survey results in the coming days as resumption is by the corner. A teaser into survey is that thousands of our students are on the verge of dropping out as they can still not afford the reduced fees and the palliatives announced by the Management are inadequate to cater for them.
“This singular fact, the management also knows but continues to deny shamelessly.
Whatever the school has in its coffers now was because the students and their parents were forced to borrow money, beg online, beg on the streets, and engage in menial jobs, so they could meet up with the balloting exercise; a crazy hustle for scarce and overpriced bed spaces, not because they’ve stopped being indigent students.
“We have concerns, disturbing ones at that.
One of such concerns is the inadequate measures to cater for indigent students as promised by the Vice-chancellor even on record. The palliatives are half measures that have not translated into concrete and workable actions, even as students are now to resume.
“We have sent in some names of indigent students and we are yet to hear from the Management. The list we have keep growing by the day. It is unfortunate that these students already have been shut out of accommodation on campus which was supposed to be their last resort since they can’t afford off-campus hostels. The burden of accommodation is now added to the burden of hiked fees. They can’t breathe.
“To add to the complaints bordering on maladministration of the UNILAG Management is to say that the process of securing student accommodation remains riddled with inefficiencies, criminal extortion and lack of transparency.
“It is disheartening to see that even with the fee hike, the school management has been unwilling to provide a smoother and more inclusive accommodation process for students.
“As we approach the commencement of academic activities in just four days, this inefficiency leaves many students in a state of uncertainty, which is unacceptable by the masses of students.”
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