ERC CONDEMNS UNIMED’S FEE INCREMENT
We Demand Reversal of the Hiked Fee and Improved Funding of Public Education
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns the recent increment in fees at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital, Ondo, which require non-indigenes and indigenes studying dentistry in the institution in the preclinical years to pay N2.245 million and N1.320 million respectively. We regard this increment by the State government as exploitative and insensitive. We hereby demand the immediate reversal of the hiked fee and for improved funding of public education.
In line with this increment, the lowest fees on the campus are now for courses like Biochemistry and Physiology for which non-indigenous students are to pay N400, 000 while indigenous students are to pay N350, 000 per session. This is in a country where the low national minimum wage of N30, 000 has not even been complied with by some states of the country, and state governments including Ondo State owe backlog of workers’ wages and allowances. This is in addition to the deepening economic crisis that has consistently eroded the purchasing power and limited income of the working-class people and further impoverished the poor.
The 120 percent fee hike for the 2020/2021 academic session in the school can only mean that the Arakunrin Akeredolu-led Ondo State government does not want the children of the working class and poor, including the civil servants, traders, farmers and artisans, studying in the school to continue with their education. This increment is not just illegitimate for its attempt to deprive youths of education but it characterizes the irresponsibility and anti-poor character of the Akeredolu-APC government who which is insensitively depriving the State of its deserved economic and social growth, especially the Health Sector that the University educates the students for.
Given the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of healthcare workers experienced in the country, it defeats logic for any government to increase the fees of Medical students. In fact, it defeats logic to increase fees for any category of students at all. Increments like this may lead to empty classes and retrenchment of education workers at the institution, especially with a state government which runs education like a business, rather than a social service to provide society with equality and productivity.
Of course, there is an urgent need to revamp the teaching and learning facilities in UNIMED and other institutions. However, we sternly hold that this must be the responsibility of the government. Therefore, we call for the proper funding of the education sector and its democratic management by the elected representatives of staff and students in order to make it possible to tackle the regime of corrupt practices by school administrators who often mismanage the paltry amount allocated to schools. For many years, governments at different levels have failed to adequately fund public education in Nigeria”. Yet, education, as seen in UNIMED, remains comatose while the poor masses are made to pay exorbitant amount as fees.
For us in the ERC, we join the students of UNIMED to demand total reversal of the increment. We believe that only protests, rallies and mass movements democratically led by students of the school, working in concert with Academic, Non-Academic Staff unions, Health Workers’ Unions and labour centers can achieve the reversal. We, therefore, call on leaders of ASUU, NASU, Students’ Unions and organizations in the state, and the health workers union in the state to take up this struggle in solidarity with UNIMED students until victory is attained.
Deputy National Coordinator
Comrade Adaramoye Michael Lenin
Acting National Mobilization Officer
ERC email: [email protected]