ERC Condemns Over 440% Fees Hike at OAUTHC Nursing College
OVER 442.5% INCREMENT OF FEES AT OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL COMPLEX (OAUTHC) COLLEGE OF NURSING SCIENCES IS ANTI-POOR
ERC DEMANDS TOTAL REVERSAL NOW
WE CALL FOR RESUMPTION OF ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) hereby condemns the increment of fees at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC) College of Nursing Sciences. The increment, which was announced in December last year, affects both HND and ND students of the College. According to the details of the increment, HND fees were increased from N140, 000 to about N840, 000 (i.e. nearly a million naira!) while that of ND students were increased to N536, 000. These exorbitant fee hikes are anti-poor and capable of truncating the academic pursuits of students from poor and working class backgrounds. It is pathetic that this increment was with the full knowledge of the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, which supervises the hospital.
The ERC hereby demands total reversal of the fees and urges the mass of students and staff unions to begin to organize to fight for improved funding of the college and public education in general. We are aware that based on the opposition of the Students Union leadership, the management of the College has decided to implement a paltry reduction of the new fees from N840, 000 to N640, 000 for HND students and from N536, 000 to N361, 000 for ND students. As far as we are concerned, this reduction itself is not only inadequate but provocative as it erroneously assumes that students of the College are children of rich parents whereas they are mostly indigent students or from the poor working class families struggling to get an education in order to better their lives.
Furthermore, the ERC condemns the continuous closure of the college by the OAUTHC management. Several conflicting reasons including claims of an alleged leadership tussle in the leadership of the Parent Tutor Forum (PTF) and a letter written by the Students Union to the Federal Ministry of Health over the fee hike have been adduced for the continuous closure. Whatever is the real reason, closing the College perpetually is unjustifiable and clearly not in students’ best interests. For instance, final year students may miss their final external examinations later this year, if the school is not opened for academic activities immediately. As we demand immediate reversal of the outrageously increased fees, we also call for immediate reopening of the school for academic activities.
We hereby urge the Students Union leadership and the mass of students to reject this paltry reduction which will not prevent a majority of the students’ population from dropping out. As a response, we urge the students’ union leadership to convene a students’ congress urgently where democratic discussions and a programme of struggle to resist the increment can be discussed and agreed. Students must realise that victory is possible only if we fight.
We further call on the staff unions in the institution, especially the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), to step in to defend the right of the students to accessible and affordable education. Also, we call National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), which is supposed to serve as umbrella body for the defence of students’ right to free and quality education, to take serious action on this.
This latest increment continues the wave of fee hike that has unfolded across public tertiary institutions across the country since last year as a fallout of the anti-people, austerity policies of the Bola Tinubu/All Progressive Congress (APC) government. These increments, if allowed, will turn public education into a business and students into customers. The students’ loan which government has promised as a relief to students will not resolve the crisis of education funding, as it is just a drop in the ocean. This is why Nigerian students and education workers must step up the struggle against commercialization of education and demand adequate funding of public education.
Deputy National Coordinator
Adaramoye Michael Lenin
National Mobilisation Officer
Email: [email protected]