Students at the University of Ilorin (Unilorin) have demanded that the university administrators provide them with PC tablets they paid for prior to the 2013/2014 academic session.
The students stated that school fees for new students into the university of Ilorin was around N37, 000. However, the fee was increased to about 58, 000 at the start of the 2013/2014 session when Vice Chancellor Abdul-Ganiyu Ambali implemented the one student, one PC tablet project, which promised to issue a PC tablet to each newly admitted student.
In a statement signed by the Students’ Union Government in 2014, the leadership of the union explained, "at the beginning of this academic session, the Students’ Union and the University management agreed on some terms as regards improving the IT skills of the students and staff of the University. In so doing, the University is set to go E. Going fully into the electronic world brings the need for PC Tablets for students.”
However, the One Student, One Tab project appears to have hit a snag as thousands of students are yet to be issued tablets which they already paid for.
“The issuance of tabs started with our set,” a final year student of the Faculty of Social Sciences told our correspondent. “Most of us were lucky, so also the set after us, but it has been a sad case for the 2015/2016 session, those who are now in their second year,” he added.
SaharaReporters learned that the university administration, unable to provide the tablets for students in the 2015/2016 set, promised to do so before the end of the session’s second semester.
“Promise after unmet promises,” screamed an angry second-year student who spoke with our correspondent. “They first said they would give us the tablet after our 100 level second semester exam, but we didn’t see anything. During the break, again, they promised that we would get it the first week of resumption into our new level. This is about the seventh week since we resumed and we’ve not seen anything. They normally speak to us through the SUG, and now we hear some SUG people saying we will get our tabs before the semester runs out.”
The Student Union appears to be running out of patience with the university administration. In a statement released by its leadership and circulated amongst students in November, the student leadership stated, "some weeks back, the Union released an official statement through the General Secretary that bothered [sic] on the PC Tablets, where we stated that the Tablets should be available within a specified date. It is, however, imperative at this point to enunciate that the time frame we gave was due to the promises made to us by the Management. Frankly, we want to assert that the promises made to us by the Management have not been delivered; one of the reasons we were told is the fluctuation in the economic market that happened the last session.”
Signed by the Union President, Shobowale Lukman, and the PRO, Omotosho Ahmed, the statement noted that the student union had employed all negotiating means. “It is safe to say the Management has not been up and doing on the promises made to the Union."
PRO Ahmed told our correspondent that, as complaints from students rose last month, "we thought we should make it formal, and then we instructed faculty presidents to forward their signed complaints to the Union. Then the Union, on behalf of the faculties, wrote to the Management. We got a call from the Management, urging us to be calm and assuring us that the tabs would be issued before the end of the semester. But you know we cannot keep quiet because students paid for these things.”
The student union has confirmed that some of the PC Tablets have become available, but they stated that the number represents a small percentage of the university's obligation.
Some final year students who got their tabs at the inception of the project complained about the substandard nature of the tabs.“I don’t understand why we paid that much for a tab that, after a few weeks, the touchpad had stopped functioning,” one of the students said. Another second-year said, “We paid about N36, 000 for this tab that we’ve not been issued, and the newly admitted, 2016/2017 set that is, are paying about N50, 000.”
Some students said they were not happy that the school made it compulsory for all students to pay for the tablets. “Paying for these low-quality tabs should be optional,” another final year student said. “But, go to the school portal, new students wouldn’t have access to their course registration form until they’ve made payment for the tab and one Wi-Fi service that the coverage doesn’t go beyond Lecture Theatre.”