*KSU (KADUNA) SCHOOL FEES INCREMENT FROM N24,000 AND N26,000 TO N150,000 AND 500,000 IS CALLOUS, ANTI-POOR AND UNACCEPTABLE
*WE DEMAND IMMEDIATE REVERSAL OF THE ILL-THOUGHT AND OUTRAGEOUS INCREMENT
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) strongly condemns the extremely outrageous and irrational increment in fees of Kaduna State University (KSU) students by the management of Kaduna State University and the Kaduna State Government. We demand immediate and unconditional reversal of this fee hike as well as improved funding and democratic control and management of public education in Kaduna state. It is worth noting that this fee hike at KSU is a rehash of a similar outrageous fee hike policy carried out in the year 2011 by the Governor Fashola-led government of Lagos state when he increased fee of Lagos State University (LASU) from N25, 000 to a range between N197,000 and N350,000.
According to media reports, students in Faculty of Arts, Management and Social science who were paying N24,000 will be paying N150,000 according to the new fee structure while students from Faculty of Medicine who were paying N26,000 are to pay N300,000 and N500,000 respectively for indigenes and non-indigenes.
This increment is coming at a point many working class and poor middle class families are yet to recover from the economic downturn worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic. What this means is that many students will have their academic career truncated as a result of this vicious increment, if students, with the support of the working people, do not rise to defeat it. For a state blighted with a huge number of out-of-school children and insecurity, any policy capable of denying citizens access to quality education ought not to be in its plan. This increment is also coming at a period when the State government is plotting to sack over 4, 000 civil servants in the State! Sadly, for capitalist elite and their cronies in government, public education must be made a commodity to be sold for profit- without minding the catastrophic effect of such.
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) demands an immediate reversal of this obnoxious increment. For us, the excuse by the Kaduna State University management that the increment is necessary to improve the state of infrastructures in the university is ridiculous and untenable. In fact, it is an indictment on the Kaduna state government that it has been irresponsible and anti-poor. We agree that there is need to improve the living and learning condition of students, including the staff, but this cannot be done by placing the burden of funding of the institution on children whose parents are subjected to N30,000 minimum wage or serious economic crisis by the failure of Buhari government. It is the responsibility of the government to provide citizens with quality education- this responsibility must not be placed on students!
We support the opposition expressed by the Students’ Union against the increment. However, we believe that mere appeal to the school management and government whose only rationality is about exploitation and oppression will not guarantee any meaningful gain for students. Therefore, we demand that the union take a bold step in the direction of struggle against this absurdity. We call for a united struggle of students and staff through the students union and workers’ unions. As a first step, we demand a general meeting/congress of students to map out programme of action to reject this increment and call for support from workers’ unions.
We also call on the workers unions in the university and the NLC and TUC leadership in the state to condemn the increment and prepared to initiate or join solidarity actions with the students in order to help force the anti-poor government to reverse the obnoxious fees.
The obtainable reality across various institutions reflects the decaying state of public education and readiness of administrators of public institutions and government to introduce anti-students policies. The lack of a mass fighting platform of students has meant that this ugly situation continues and has been worsened by various attacks on students’ rights and education. This is why we believe there is need for a fighting platform of students capable of mobilizing students against any attack.
While we call on students’ unions and NANS to wake up to their responsibility of defending Nigerian students, we urge students who are dissatisfied with the decaying state of public education as well as the precarious state which the nation has been thrown into to join us in the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) to build a resistance platform in various schools as well as a national campaign against attacks on public education and for a socialist change.
Ogunjimi Isaac Ayobani
Deputy National Coordinator
Acting National Mobilization Officer