The management of the Niger Delta University has suspended academic activities till further notice due to the no-fees-no-exams policy which the management implemented in the 2021/2022 first semester examinations which started February 6th, 2023. According to management, “the undergraduate regular first semester examinations for the 2021/2022 academic session be suspended indefinitely with immediate effect”.
How long will this suspension last? Well, firstly, there is another intercepting 2 weeks general elections break. The suspension of examinations notice was released on the 15th of February, 2023 while the notice of the elections break was released on the 16th of February, 2023 – all signed by the registrar, Mr. Benjamin Joffa.
This means that aside the suspension of examinations, as a result of the 2 weeks elections break starting from Saturday 25th February, 2023 when the Presidential elections is holding, school would have resumed immediately after the governorship elections holding March 11th, 2023. This means exams were supposed to resume Monday 13th March, 2023.
However, with the accompanying suspension of examinations, it is precarious that exams will commence that day. This is because no one can be sure if the elections activities would give the government and the school management the time to attend to the protest issue.
Suspensions like these could take up to months to resolve, depending on the gravity of the issue on ground, stakeholders attracted and existing intervening circumstances.
Let’s go back to 2021 when students protested the uniforms policy and school fees portal closure. The protest started 5th July, 2021 through 7th July, 2021. Management also suspended academic activities as a result of what it termed “unruly behaviour of students”.
However, academic activities were restored on the 19th of July, 2023. This is barely 2 weeks suspension of studies.
Now, let’s come back to 2023. It is a sure thing that school can only resume after the elections. However, what is not certain is if government and management will use the 2weeks break to resolve the issue so we can resume after the elections – Monday March 13th, 2023.
Another issue of concern is the possibility that should the outcome not favour students, wont’ they protest again? And if they do, won’t management employ force, thereby driving the university into a likely school fees increment saga of 2018?
As the scene unfolds, we can only hope for the best. Meanwhile, our best advice is for all to struggle to pay their fees while management shift the policy to the next session with good publicity on the policy, outcome and consequences. This will enable the community to set itself up for the new session.
Up next: Lack of Proper Information Responsible for NDU’s Woes