The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) in Ondo State has kicked against the astronomical hike in the tuition fee for new degree students of the Adeyemi College of Education (ACE) in Ondo State.
The ERC said the 35 percent tuition increase of N39,000 to N55,500 for first year arts, languages and education students and the increase from N39,500 to N60,500 for first year science and vocational/ technical education students was not acceptable.
Owoyomi Damilola Owot, the Ondo State Coordinator of the ERC, said this in a statement issued and obtained by SaharaReporters in Akure.
Mr. Owot explained that the "obnoxious increment," which is coming at a period of economic hardship in the country, would limit many students from accessing public education.
He described the hike as part of a series of anti-poor increases in payable fees that the management of Adeyemi College of Education in Ondo State has been imposing on students and their parents.
"For instance, during the 2011/2012 academic session, the management introduced a so-called maintenance fee of N3,000 for degree students and N2,000 for NCE students. Similarly, during the 2012/2013 academic session, the authorities introduced an acceptance fee of N10,000 while in the 2014/2015 academic session, an administrative fee of N10,000 was introduced," Mr. Owot told our reporter.
"The argument behind the introduction of the maintenance fee in the 2011/2013 session was to cater for the immediate needs of the departments and schools (faculties), but this has not stopped the heads and deans of various schools and departments from demanding a quota from the student association's purse.
"Also, the acceptance fee which was introduced in the 2012/2013 session in the name of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) has continued to defy the law of gravity, growing to as much as N25,000 for degree students and N20,000 for NCE students in 2016/2017 session."
The ERC said that it stands firm on its position which states that free and quality education must be accessible to all students in the country.
The group called on all the students and activists to rise up and resist all forms of anti-student policies that could endanger their education and future careers.
"We also call on staff unions in the college to oppose the fee hike and stand in solidarity with students until the struggle for reversal is won. This is essential because ACE management may want to use the need for payment of the salary and allowances of workers to justify the anti-poor increment with a view to driving a wedge between students and workers in the institution.
"While the management can be timid to confront these policies from OAU for the fear of losing its affiliation, students must start organizing themselves to take up this issue with a view to delivering ACE from any further attack on the campus.
"We also call on student activists and left organizations in OAU to take up to this issue with a view to stopping OAU from any further intimidation on ACE as well as the complete reversal of the existing anti-poor policies," the statement read.