It is no news that the authorities of Lagos State University (LASU) have called for application from qualified applicants for her 2016/2017 admission.
In the same vein, the University authorities have also increased the admission screening exercise fee by over 100% from N2,300 to N5,000 this year. Also the University authorities have raised the UTME cut off mark for eligibility to sit for the admission screening exercise to 190 over and above the 180 proposed by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
Having examined these two developments and their implication, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) finds that the over 100 percent increment in admission screening exercise fees to be unjust, exploitative and anti-poor. We are also concerned about the negative implication the 190 UTME score set by LASU for eligibility to sit for its admission screening exercise would have for applicants many of whom are from poor working class homes.
1. We find it difficult to reconcile the cost of conducting admission screening exercise in a university like the Lagos State University with the amount levied on each applicant. More so, considering the teeming population of applicants the University will get and the turn over that would be realized, one can only conclude that the increment is a deliberate attempt to exploit the applicants all in the name of increasing the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the University. More so, increasing admission screening fee at this period of economic downturn when many working class families are going through enormous hardship is rather insensitive. The ERC also see this increment as one that does not have the interest of the applicants at heart and a deliberate attempt to take education away from the reach of the poor masses.
2. On the increase of the cut off mark, no doubt we acknowledge that it is necessary for the Lagos State University to maintain its high standard of scholarship by ensuring that only the best gain admission. However we believe that this cannot be achieved simply by raising the cut off mark. We recall that when Universities pushed for the creation of the Post-UTME test some years ago, the argument was that JAMB scores were no more reliable for assessing applicants competence given the enormous malpractice that often characterize UTME every year, therefore Universities needed their own separate screening in the form of the Post-UTME test. Logically therefore, raising the UTME cut off mark for eligibility to apply for admission into LASU would not in any away guarantee that the best would gain admission. Rather, it would only ensure that many applicants who scored marks lower than 190 not because they were not good enough but due to the malpractice that still characterize UTME are unable to have a fair shot at admission.
Having put forward the arguments above, we hereby demand the following:
1. The University management should reverse the admission screening exercise fee in the best interest of applicants majority of whom are from poor working class background.
2. We hereby urge the University management to kindly allow all qualified applicants with 180 UTME score and above to apply for the admission screening exercise.
3. We believe the Lagos State University management team ably led by Prof. Lanre Fagbohun is a student-loving team. We will therefore be enormously grateful if the management can consider our arguments and positions and do the needful to address all of these issues.
At the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), we campaign for a free, credible and qualitative education at all levels of the educational system.
Dhikrullah Aasim (Bintinlaye)
ERC LASU BRANCH