Rights group seeks reversal of ABUAD school fees for clinical students

EDUCATION Rights Campaign (ERC) has challenged the management of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) to, as a matter of urgency, effect a downward review in the school fees of clinical students, which recently shot from the initial N1.7m to N2.6m.

  National Coordinator of the group, Hassan Taiwo Soweto, in a statement made available to The Guardian, is calling on well-meaning Nigerians to rise to the challenge and prevail on the authorities of the institution to immediately reverse the fee, which he said was detrimental to affected students.

  “The authorities of the ABUAD have carried out an outrageous hike in the fees of its clinical students (400 level medical students) from the already whopping sum of N1.7 million to a stupefying sum of N2.6m. Nothing on earth, except plain profit making, can justify this exploitative hike,” the statement claimed. 

  “By this fee hike, what the ABUAD authorities appear to be saying is that private university education is only open to the children of treasury looters and corrupt politicians. We urge Nigerian people to publicly condemn this fee hike and prevail on the authorities of the institution to rescind its decision.”

  The group added that if the review fails to take effect, “Many medical students already in their 400 level risk being thrown out of the university. This is therefore a matter of urgent national importance. Even the old rate of N1.7m is extortionate and exorbitant. We insist that education must not and should not be a ‘debt’ sentence.”

  He argued as long as private universities are service providers, the public including students and their parents have a right to protest any of their policies considered inimical to their future, since education is an inalienable universal human right. 

  “Increasing fees at such outrageous rate as ABUAD has done is therefore an unacceptable pressure on parents and if unchallenged, this fee hike can force many of the clinical students to drop out of school,” the statement stated adding that, “Out of the N2.6m, the tuition portion is just N950, 000. What makes up the rest is simply stupefying. For instance, clinical students are being asked to pay N350, 000 for clinical posting and another N200, 000 for community medicine posting. For examination and assessment, the students are to pay N125, 000. What manner of examinations cost this much? The group queried.

“Despite N950, 000 already allotted for tuition, students are to pay another N150, 000 for practical/laboratory. So what exactly constitutes tuition in the first place? Accommodation is N350, 000. Library fees, which used to be N10, 000 was jerked up to N20, 000 while ICT was pegged at N30, 000. Course registration, a simple administrative exercise, attracts a cost of N10, 000. Also students are to pay N50, 000 as deposit against damages.”

  The group advised that the only socially beneficial way to make education affordable and accessible to all is for the government to invest massively in public education by utilising the enormous wealth of the country. 

  “Whether public or private education, the ERC stand opposed to exploitation. We join ABUAD students to condemn the fee hike. Unfortunately from the inception of the university, the management has illegally prevented student unionism in direct violation of the constitutional rights of students. We condemn this and demand that the students be allowed to establish an independent and democratic students union through which they can protect their rights and interests at all times,” the statement added.

  Checks on the school’s website showed a detailed fee structure in the sum of N2.6m with an accompanying circular which read thus: “For the attention of ABUAD clinical students: the clinical students are to note that the fees payable for the current (2014/2015) academic session are as itemised in the accompanying table. Payment should be made in bank draft payable to ABUAD on or before March 14, 2015. Clinical posting shall commence on March 16, 2015.”

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