The recent decision of the management, university of Lagos to reduce the hiked tuition fees by about 10% could best be described as STDS (seen-to-do-something) which is not good enough.
The STDS syndrome is usually employed as a strategy where a response is made to a complaint just to be seen as a response not because it is going to make the desired impact but to create the impression that ‘something has been done about it’
Recall that the management of the university of Lagos under the leadership of the vice chancellor Professor Folasade Ogunsola after a meeting with the leadership of the national association of Nigerian students (NANS), has ‘reduced’ the tuition and other fees it hiked by, in some cases by as low as 5%. The reduction is too low and cannot solve the problem, not even close.
For example, the tuition fees payable by medical students ante belium are N19,000 but hiked to N190,250 (a 1000 % increase) last month. In a seeming STDS, after pressure from the students and other concerned citizens, the management university of Lagos reduced it N170,250 (a 10% reduction).
Clearly, this minimal reduction is not what that the parents and students asked for. What the parents and other stakeholders asked for is reversal of the tuition fee ante belium. Tuition fees should be reversed to pre-fuel subsidy removal as a form of palliative and a mark of sensitivity to the plight of parents arising from the current hardship across board.
Public universities should convince Nigerians on what they are doing with TETFUND and the annual allocation from the federal government. This year 2023, the federal government allocated N320 billion to beneficiary tertiary institutions including public universities. This budget, if judiciously utilised can take care of the financial requirements of tertiary institutions in Nigeria including maintenance, electricity bills etc without recourse to hike in fees. This is more so when juxtaposed with the fact that the federal government foots the wage bill of all staff of Nigerian universities. All staff salary of public universities are paid by the federal government. What does the universities hope to achieve by hiking tuition fees?
It is pointless going over the consequences of the hike in tuition fees in the midst of multidimensional poverty (MDP) and hyper inflation. I have gone over these issues in my last article on this subject titled: Hike in tuition fees and the risks of granting autonomy to universities in Nigeria.
For the sake of emphasis, Nigerians should brace up for more restive youths on the streets searching for anything to do as many students who cannot afford the exorbitant tuition will drop out of the universities and other tertiary institutions.
The parents, students, NANS and all stakeholders should stay the course and continue to ramp up the pressure on the university of Lagos and indeed all universities and other tertiary institutions in Nigeria who have one way or another, increased their tuition fees. A stitch in time can save a generation.