FOR A UNITED AND MASS STRUGGLE AGAINST FEES
Ogun state has had its own fair share of the wave of the neo-liberal attacks on education currently raging across the country especially among the states controlled by the opposition All Progressives’ Congress (APC) which deceitfully prides itself as an assemblage of disciples of Obafemi Awolowo welfarist philosophy.
According to a leaflet produced by the National Association of Nigerian Students, Ogun State Axis Joint Campuses’ Committee (JCC), the neo-liberal policies of Governor Ibikunle Amosun regime on education in the state has led to increase in the number of indigent students who drop out of school based on the failure to pay fees. For instance, the astronomical increase of fees in Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta from the old fee regime of N44, 800 to N62,300 with an obnoxious Acceptance Fee of N25, 500 has led to migration of full-time students to part-time because they were unable to pay the tuition fees as at the deadline
The most outrageous fee regime is in Olabisi Onabanjo University where there was a fee increment from N82,000 for Arts and Social Sciences students to N140,000 and N150,000 respectively with N40,000 acceptance fee. The Law students in the university currently pay as high as N172,000 while Medical students pay N250,000 and Pharmacy students,N205,000. A renewed mood of resistance against the fee hike is developing among the radical layers within the students, given the inspiration from the Lagos State University (LASU) students’ struggle in Lagos State.
In Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijebu-Ode, fees have equally been increased from N53, 750 to N88, 750 with a criminal acceptance fees of N30,000.TASUED students who are unable to meet up with the payment of the new fees are currently facing the danger of the termination of their academic career having been prevented to write examinations. While struggle have broken out on these issues on the campus, the management is enjoying breathing space through the shield provided by the students’ union leadership from the anger of students.
The same is reflecting in Tai Solarin College of Education, Omu-Ijebu where fees have been increased from N36,700 to N40, 850 with acceptance fee at N11,000..Ogun State College of Technology charges N99,000 as against the former regime of N76,000 with acceptance fee of N25,000.
The state owned DS-ICT in Itori charges N74,000 as against N64,000 with acceptance fee at N15,000. Gateway Polytechnic, Saapade charges N80,000 as against the former regime of N65,000 with acceptance fee of N20,000.Ogun State Cooperative College, Ijeja charges N35,000 as new tuition fees as against N28,000 with acceptance fee of N10, 000.Ogun State Institute of Technology, Ijeja charges N65,000 as new tuition fees as against the former fee regime of N35,000 and acceptance fee of N20,000.
To add insult upon injury, these state-owned tertiary institutions makes “tax clearance” of N10,000 mandatory on all freshers in Ogun state. Just like the acceptance fees the “tax clearance” charge is unacceptable as it is only a means of extorting fresh students who have just got admitted to the institutions.
Unfortunately, the local Students’ Unions in these institutions mostly play the role of applying the brakes to the mass radicalization among students. While the NANS JCC in the state has commendably issued leaflet that highlights the outrageous fees they have not been able mobilize mass of students around it and lead a united struggle. It is only the unrelenting struggle of the mass of students with support of education workers and working people in general that can force the Amosun regime to concede to the 50 percent fee reduction across campuses as being canvassed by the Ogun State JCC as shown in the case of LASU.
The staff unions in all the tertiary institutions in the state should support the struggle and agitation against fees as decline in student enrollment as a result of inability to pay fees will also put their own jobs on the line as shown in the case LASU.
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) in Ogun State will intervene in all of the resistance struggles of students against these obnoxious policies with the aim of arming the best minds of the radical layers of students with the clear perspectives and methods of struggle. This is also linked to the question of a genuine political alternative which can utilize the vast resources of the state to meet the urgent need of free education. The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) is an initiative supported by the ERC in providing the much-needed independent political voice for workers, students and youth.
Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Ogun State