Since the no-fees-no-exams policy was implemented on February 6th, 2023, the policy has met with stiff opposition, even concluding in a school-wide protest.
A & U Ng correspondent went behind the scenes to gather information as to why the university management is holding fast to this policy.
It is understandable that while the students and stakeholders have the media to themselves to explain what they think and how they view the policy, management and its staff has been so restrictive in media explanations.
In our observations, phone and physical interviews, the A & U Ng gathered that the no-fees-no-exams policy is not a matter of today. A management staff who pleaded anonymity noted that the students had in September 19th, 2019 had a meeting with management when the policy was first introduced.
The students pleaded that they will pay and management suspended the policy. However, most of these students have graduated but did not pay.
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One Head of Department (HOD) and a professor lamented the financial state of the University that there is no more funds to run the university as the state government’s subvention is not enough to run the university.
The HOD stated that this administration will end in May, 2023 and with the way things are, if there is no funds on ground for the next administration and the next VC could not cope with the current financial pressure, the system as a whole may crumble and we all knows what that means.
The source added that the no-fees-no-exam policy is a last resort of the school management. The source also stated that many students have received their payments but squandered it. He recounted many cases coming to his office where students have squandered their fees. He added that these things wouldn’t have been known if not for the new policy.
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More management staff were very open behind the scene stating how it is with the NDU management. Another source lamented that there is no money anywhere and students have their fees with them not paying.
He buttressed his point by pointing to figures that before the policy was implemented, out of a total 24,800 students, only 4000 students had paid their fees. However, as at the starting week of the examinations, about 10,000 students had paid.
These additional payments are students who will deliberately never pay or use their fees for something else but for the policy.
One other source stated that students deliberately delay their fees and cited a time when news came that once Governor Douye Diri is inaugurated as governor of Bayelsa State in, he will reduce the NDU school fees. This news persisted even till 2021. Many students deliberately did not pay their fees until many re-used their fees.
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Yet, another source, speaking from the angle of pressure of funds on management pointed that the management have no other option than to focus on fees payment. He stated that some of the students protesting have Mercedes Benz yet they are owing school fees.
He stated that the problem of school fees payment is not that the students do not have their fees but it is a matter of priority and that is what management is trying to achieve by pushing students to prioritize payment of their fees.
On the prospects ahead, if management will yield to public outcry, one of the sources closest to the VC’s office stated that everyone will pay their fees because the pressure for funds is too much as management cannot go and borrow money to set exam for anyone.
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“Management could have dislodged to protest immediately but chooses not to”. So everyone should pay their fees.
As the no-fees-no-exams policy activities progresses, the A & U Ng will bring up more updates later.
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