TECH-U NAME CHANGE: PUBLIC FUNDING SHOULD BE OF MORE CONCERN
SPN rejects the current high fees being charged at the Technical University and demands adequate funding as well as reduction of fee to an amount affordable by poor students.
The attention of the Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, Oyo State Chapter, has been drawn to the recent decision of the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government to rename the Oyo state Technical University after the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the immediate past governor of Oyo state. As much as we have nothing against the name change, we strongly feel that the issue of funding including how to make the university accessible and affordable to mass of prospective university students in the state should have been an utmost concern.
The Oyo state Technical University, that used to be known as TECH-U, was established in November, 2012 by the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi. This was with an impression that it’s going to be publicly owned and run to satisfy the university education needs of mass of the prospective university students in the state. Unfortunately, since the establishment of the university till date, there is nothing in its practice and the operation that suggests that it was fundamentally established and designed for the use of the general public.
It largely operates as a private venture. The right to form and belong to a trade union of choice as well as students union which is a practice in all of the state-owned tertiary institutions across the state and elsewhere are not permissible. School fees are so exorbitant and far beyond the reach of students from poor homes. The fee charged by the university for both the new and old students for the current session is N722,000. This excludes an additional fee of N149,000 acceptance fee imposed on new students.
We reject this kind of high and outrageous school fee. It has made the university inaccessible and unaffordable to a huge number of prospective applicants from poor and working class homes as well as the average middle class families This obvious means that the opportunity and capacity to attend the university, which is supposed be publicly owned is an exclusive preserve of the selected few children of the elites and privileged class in the State.
The SPN condemns in totality this kind of exclusion and discrimination and strongly holds that all of the issues around democratic right of workers and students, the exorbitant school fees which are largely the manifestation of poor commitment of the state government towards adequate funding of the university, should be addressed by the Makinde-led government, instead of the mere name change without any benefits for the general public. This is if truly the administration is different from the past government and willing to defend the interest of mass of poor workers, students and masses in the state.
It is in the light of this background, we call on Makinde-led government for an immediate review of all the law militating against the democratic right of workers and students in the university as well as reduction of school fees to amount that is affordable for students from poor home.
We also call for adequate funding of the University as well as other tertiary institutions including the Alayande college of education, Oyo, recently upgraded to university of education and newly established satellite campus of LAUTECH in. This is to ensure that all the state-owned institutions truly exist to serve the interest of all and not only children of the elite some of whom make money from corruption and looting of public resources.
Again, for the judicious use of the finances and effective running of these institutions, we call for a democratic control by elected committee of representatives of academic and non-academic staff as well as students who are subject to recall by their electors.
Oyo State SPN Secretary