By Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
Hundreds of Students of the Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State on Monday stormed the premises of the State Governor’s office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta to protest against an alleged poor funding by the State government and extortion by their school management.
The students in the early hours of the day started the protest from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) secretariat, in Abeokuta, the State capital to register their grievances over the alleged institution’s high level of extortion.
The angry students carried placards with inscriptions such as “We say No to N10,200 Tax Clearance”, “Amosun Save TASUED”, “Amosun fund education” and “We say no to N25,000 vocational studies fee”.
Speaking on behalf of the students, the institution’s Students’ Union Government (SUG) President, Comrade Sanni Adeyemi, lamented that some policies had been implemented by the institution to the detriment of the students.
Adeyemi mentioned some of the “harsh” policies to include, incremental fees and dues “under the guise of raising Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for smooth running of the institution”.
According to him, “The acceptance fee of new intakes has been increased from N30,000 to N40,000 while the final clearance fee for graduating students has also been increased from N25,000 to N45,000”.
“I also want to let the people know that the Vocational studies fee was also increased from N1,000 to N25,000 which is too ridiculous”.
“It is only in Ogun State that students would be asked to pay N10,200 tax clearance every session.”
“We are made to realise by the university management that there is need for all the increment and introduction of fees and dues as the state government has failed to give the school funds.”
“According to the information at hand, it is clearly stated that the state had failed to give TASUED a kobo for the past 24 months, ” he said.
Adeyemi called on the government to accord TASUED adequate and reasonable funds to ensure smooth running of the university.
Addressing the students later, the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun assured them that he would invite the management of the school next week to his Abeokuta office to discuss how some of the issues raised by the students could be resolved.
He disclosed that his administration had, for the past four and half years paid the sum of N52billion as subventions to tertiary institutions in the State.”
He told the students, “If you want your certificate to be worthwhile it will not be free. All the things you are saying that you don’t want to pay for this, you don’t want to pay for that, then you will not get the right person to come and teach you or anything”.
Meanwhile, the university’s management in a swift reaction, denied the allegations, explaining that the authority had not increased school fees in the last three years, contrary to the claim of the students.
The university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluyemisi Ibilade in a statement said, “It is on record that the management has not increased school fees in the last three years. The school fees is still N66,500 for returning undergraduates and N76,500 for fresh students”.
According to her, “The caution fee cannot be part of school fees as it is only paid by students who fail to conclude registration within stipulated time. The fee is actually to make students to register on time and avoid past situation where some students will be at 400 level with their registration yet to be concluded. Instances abound of students who at the point of graduation are found to be deficient in one admission requirement or the other and/or having incomplete data with the regulatory bodies.”
“Registration fees are paid in all universities, just as students Union fees. It is in the bid to plug loopholes and enhance accountability that made Management, Deans and HODS to come together and agree that the fees be streamlined and paid together in one lump”.
“Tax payment is a civic and statutory responsibility of citizens to the Ogun State Government. The said N10,000 is only payable in lieu of non possession of valid Ogun State Tax Clearance Certificate. The University is, therefore, not involved in the collection of the said tax. It only demands for the clearance certificate of parents/sponsor(s)”, the statement read.
“We have no apologies on TASUED standard that students with more than two carry-overs will not go for teaching practice. TASUED is a University of Education and we will be doing a disservice to the State and Nation if we allow students with inadequate knowledge to teach in the classrooms. Research has shown that it is more difficult to unlearn a wrong thing”.
The management explained further that, it acknowledge that the recession has affected government allocation from the federation account, which has also grossly affected subventions.
“The management has creatively introduced vocational training, diversified its IGR and has managed to sustain its programme and schedule. This stands out the University as a model all over the country, and it is on record that many tertiary institutions have been sending delegations to understudy the TASUED model.”
“We are not unmindful of the fact that this may be bad news for enemies of progress who want to bring TASUED to its knees for reasons best known to them. TASUED belongs to all of us collectively, it is God’s ow n project and it must not only survive but thrive”.