Calls for improved funding of the Institution
It has come to our notice that following several agitations and protests by students and activists on the issues of fee hike, reinstatement of students’ union and recall of suspended students at the Yaba College of Technology, the school management has agreed to the following: (1) Reinstatement of the students union starting with a caretaker committee, (2) Reinstatement of suspended students and (3) Partial reversal of the full time students fee to N22, 500.
To start with, despite that the hiked fees were not fully reversed as demanded, nonetheless the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) Lagos welcomes these concessions which were won by struggle of students and activists. However, we are concerned that while making these concessions, the Yabatech authorities neither reduced nor reversed the fee of part-time students which was equally increased astronomically. We consider this a marginalization of the part time students who also put demands forward during the negotiations for a reversal of their hiked fees.
ERC Lagos hereby calls on the authorities of Yaba College of Technology to reverse the fee of part-time students and ensure that issues of poor welfare conditions and inadequate teaching infrastructures which affect all categories of students are immediately looked into.
We say that on no ground should the management marginalize the demands of the part time students. We believe part-timers are legitimate students with valid admission, therefore, their interest must be jealously guarded as that of the full timers. We are united by studentship and indivisible as such no one should be marginalized in the benefits of struggle. We therefore call on Yabatech students not to allow the management to divide them. They should continue to campaign through mass meetings, media, rallies and peaceful demonstrations for the fee of part-time students to be reversed and for improvement in the funding of Yabatech and its democratic management.
ERC believe public education must be properly funded by the government and democratically managed in such a way that elected representatives of students union and workers’ unions are involved in the decision making organs and the running of the school. We consider unacceptable the government anti-poor directive to management of public higher institutions to find means of raising their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in order to be able to meet the growing cost of running their schools. As far as we are concerned, public education is a constitutional responsibility of government. A responsible and pro-masses government would not shirk this responsibility or attempt to make students, either part-timers or full timers, bear the huge financial burden of funding education.
Therefore, ERC LAGOS calls for proper and adequate funding of Yabatech with immediate effect and its democratic management. However, without democratic management, corruption will thrive thus undermining the impact of funding. For instance, if the current subvention presently being received by the Yabatech is democratically managed, it could to an extent meet the cost of running the school. But this is not possible because the subvention, where not outright looted, is often mismanaged by the authorities who would prefer to waste resources on building a new Senate building and buying official cars while classrooms, laboratories and libraries desperately cry for attention.
Therefore, ERC LAGOS calls on NANS National, NANS JCC LAGOS, activists and generality of YABA TECH students, both part timers and full timers, to immediately fight for total reversal in both part time and full time fee across level and other unjust charges.
ERC LAGOS Coordinator.