The issue of school fees these days have been at the top of every discussion. Before now, the Devil used to be blamed for every misfortune. But ask any student why he has not paid his fees now, his only reply is that the school fees is too high.
The school fees have caused so many debates and chaos in recent times with Niger Delta University students protesting same in May, 2018 and recently in July, 2021. Currently, Akeredolu of Ondo State is currently receiving knocks over increment in the school fees of medical sciences in the State owned teaching hospital where students studying dentistry in preclinical years are expected to pay N2.245million and N1.320million for non-indigenes and indigenes respectively.
Below are some of the indicators that school fees in the Nigerian setting may not go down any moment soon:
1. General Cost of Administering University
The cost of goods and services have practically skyrocketed. The cost of every single good in the market have either been increased or smells increment. University actually needs heavy funding which is often not forthcoming from the relevant government. The brunt is borne by the students while government’s support is lessening by the day.
2. A Trend in Federal Universities Increasing School Fees
Federal Universities used to be very cheap. In fact, Federal Universities don’t used to pay tuition fees. All they did were petty administrative fees paid back then. However, the tide has changed. They not only pay tuition fees now, their school fees are also being tampered in several quarters with several periods of deadlines attached. The Federal University, Otuoke is a case study of this.
3. ASUU-FG Meeting Outcome
Recently, there was a behind the door meeting between ASUU and federal government where the federal government made an offer to ASUU. The FG wanted public school fees to be increased to N1,000,000. The FG offered to give all students loans for the years they are to remain in school and pay back after their graduation. It seems the FG was afraid of public backlash and wanted ASUU to publish such info so that they can bear the blame. With all these development, the issue of school fees decrease becomes even difficult to hold water.
4. Decaying Academic System
It is unfortunate that despite TetFund and other sister funding agencies and contributors, the Nigerian academic system especially in areas of infrastructures is nowhere near its counterparts even in less developed countries. According the Vice Chancellor, Niger Delta University, Prof. Samuel Gowon Edoumiekumo, who is also the Chairman of Vice Chancellors Association of Nigeria, “the current school fees cannot help us”. This statement was made when the NDU school fee was newly increased and there was wild agitation to bring it down. University administrators actually wants to do better but are usually hoodwinked to the halt.
The case of the Niger Delta University is a very fine sample. In the words of the PRO, Mr. Idoni Ingezi, “the VC has turned the university to a dockyard of construction.” This massive construction that is improving the wellbeing of the university cannot be possible if fees were to be reduced. In my own regular local parlance, I will say “e be like say na the poor man go do something about his predicament, if not, school fees never ready to go down.”
With the reasons posted above, it is becoming glaring that school fees reduction is becoming a thing of the past. It dawned on me as far back as May, 2018 when the NDU students protested heavily to reduce school fees all to no avail. I was wondering why government and management remained adamant despite the severity of the public outcry. It was later I woke up to reality that this is the state of the nation.
As time emerges, this material will be updated from time to time to reflect current trends in the school fees discuss.