EDUCATION RIGHTS CAMPAIGN CALLS ON THE LAGOS STATE UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT AND LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT TO REVERSE THE INCREMENT IN SCHOOL FEE.
Education Rights Campaign Lagos State University branch, condemns the recent hike in school fee in Lagos State University (LASU), and we hereby call on the Lagos state government and the management of the university to reverse the school fee back to the previous N25,000 fee regime.
The university spokesperson Mr. Adekoya Ademola, in an interview with the Punch newspaper immediately after the increment, said that “we need to get some funds to run the university. The increment has been marginal. It is not exorbitant. Some parents and even the state government have commended the university for not skyrocketing the fees to an amount they cannot afford” (Punch December 10, 2020).
This insensitive statement shows how out of touch the anti-poor capitalist elite are. Given the impoverishment of vast majority, unemployment, loss of income and destruction of livelihood due to COVID-19 lockdown and border closure as well as the ravages of the newly-arrived economic recession, the worst in 36 years, it is clear that many working class parents can no more even afford the old fee of N25, 000 let alone a new fee of between N67, 000 and N150, 000. From this point of view, the new fee hike is anti-poor, vexatious and insensitive.
Our stand in ERC is that increment in fee should not be the next thing Lagos State University management and government should be considering doing at the moment in Nigeria when the COVID-19 pandemic had destroyed businesses and trades of many parents which, in turn, reduced many parents’ capacity to even pay the previous school fee. What our nation needs now, and particularly Lagos state, is tuition free education to help relieve parents and students of the heavy burden of prevailing poverty in Nigeria. This is possible especially in Lagos state whose economy would be the fifth largest in Africa if it were a country. What needs to be done is for the key sectors of the economy in the state to be placed under the democratic control and management of the working people organized in a workers and poor people’s government based on socialist policies, together with putting an end to waste and corruption which has been the hallmark of the Lagos state government at least since 1999.
The ERC hereby call for united mass struggle of students and workers to reject the fee hike. In order to cause division, the University management has restricted the hike to 100 level students. This was the same method they used in 2011 when they increased the fee to over N350, 000. The mass of students must react to this by organizing collectively to fight back regardless of which level you are. In any case, it is only a matter of time before the fee hike affects all levels. Also the workers must remember that fee hike is a threat to their jobs and conditions. Between 2011 when fee was hiked and 2015, so much had the enrollment to LASU dropped that by 2015 many jobs were to be axed as the management wanted to embark on staff rationalization due to low enrollment. The new fee hike may soon lead to the same debacle unless resisted now. For this reason and the need for solidarity with students from the poor and working class background, we call on ASUU, SSANU, NASU AND NAAT in the Lagos State University to openly condemn the fee hike and be ready to offer solidarity to students to fightback. We also call on the Students’ Union leaders to boldly mobilize and resist the hike in school fee by campaigning, organizing student congresses, public symposiums and media campaign as a way to press our demands for the reversal of the school fee and also to campaign for adequate funding and democratic management of the university. In the same spirit, we also call on the students of Lagos state university to press these demands on the Students’ Union leadership, this is to ensure the Students’ Union effectively do the needful.
JOIN ERC LASU
If you are concerned about the fee hike and other anti-poor education policies in LASU and you would like to fightback, please join the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), LASU Branch. The ERC is a campaigning platform formed by the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) to organize students and education workers to fight fee hike, education underfunding, attack on independent unionism and democratic rights, victimization of students and staff activists. We also believe that while concessions can be won through struggle, a genuinely free and functional public education system is only possible on a sustained basis by putting an end to capitalism and enthronement of a workers and poor people’s government base on socialist policies.
To join the ERC, please call or send a message to: 08188878976 or 07013993348. You can also email: [email protected]