Today was a hectic day for the University of Ibadan Students’ Union (UISU) executives, alongside other students’ representatives, leaders and press men. The assembly deliberated extensively on issues concerning the recent increase of school fees, and the challenges of having a virtual semester.
•> Comrade Olusegun Akeju revealed that the union is working to subsidize data costs for students. He disclosed further that he was already in talks with Globacom, Nigeria, to provide 1GB of data for as low as N300
•> The Union is also working on getting affordable accommodation for those who wish to stay close to the school. It has met with the Landlords and Agents’ of Agbowo environs to foster a lower price for all UI students.
The two acts of the Students’ Union mentioned above are not rubber stamped in themselves, but are actions the Students’ Union has taken, considering students welfare as regards the virtual classes, and the accommodation issue for the upcoming semester.
After their discussions, the delegates, headed by the SU president, Comrade Olusegun Akeju, moved to Trenchard Hall. They had an audience with the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Babatunde Ekanola, and other principal officers.
Here are the major highlights of the meeting with the VC.
On Virtual Classes
•> The acting VC, Prof. Ekunola, pointed that despite the recent directive to reopen schools, the federal government is yet to disburse funds for adequate preparations regarding Covid-19 safety measures. Thus, to ensure the safety of everyone, virtual classes are the best option at the moment.
•> The acting VC also disclosed that they had requests from the College of Medicine and the Faculty of Vet Medicine to allow their students on Campus even for the first semester due to their courses’ peculiarity. The request is under consideration. The management will notify students about their decision in due time.
•> The VC also stated that information would be passed to students soon, detailing what will be required of students to participate in the online teaching plan.
On School Fees Increment
•> The acting VC gave all delegates an open floor to pass any question or comment on the increased tuition subject.
•> The directive to increase the medical fee was a ruling by the federal government in 2018/2019. However, due to an error, the school increased it by N1,600 instead of N2,000. The new figures are rather a correction than an increment.
•> On the issue of medical students having to pay to treat themselves at UCH, unlike other students who receive free basic health care in Jaja Clinic. The acting VC assured that they would contact the UHS to see what they can do to change that.
•> The Director of Sports (DoS) suggested the increase in sports levy. The management weighed and found it to be necessary.
•> The DoS stated that the increase was necessary to fund the ongoing renovations in Awo Stadium. The sports center currently accommodates three sports: football, basketball and athletics. He disclosed the management’s plan to construct about 15 more facilities there, including swimming pools and volleyball courts
•> UISU president, Akeju, pointed out that the university’s sportsmen do not get their due compensation for representing the university despite the initial N1,000 levy. The VC directed him to write to the Director of Student Affairs regarding the issue.
•> The Director of Technology revealed that the increment in tech fees started over a year ago. The university thought of a way of benefiting every student, and the fees that were deliberated were 4-5 times higher than the fee we currently have
•> The DoT claimed that the school had set up a five-year plan on developing technology. As part of the project, they had planned to install internet services in the hall of residence before resumption. However, the pandemic stalled the process.
•> Presently, the management is planning to develop new ICT infrastructures within a 5-year space.
The VC After the DoT’s statement, directed her to point out the planned phases of ICT development in the university, so Students are aware of any future increase in the levy.
•> The DoT dismissed all worries about a future increase in the technology levy.
•> A student drew the management’s attention to the medical college students paying double fees: the monthly Internet subscription they pay in their own volition, COMUI and Technology levy. The VC said they would look into it as he did not have accurate details on COMUI at that moment.
•> The VC pointed out that registrations now will be fully on the UI portal.
•> He also stated that the COVID-19 had changed our possible approach towards education. Hence, even after physical resumption, things will be more online than the old normal. UI is getting digitalized.
Prof Ekunnola, the acting VC, pleaded with the students to accept the new levies as the new system depends on the development and strength of the school’s ICT.
“We should not only focus on the money, but what we can achieve and that if we will work together, we can be a part of the schools achievements in the future on ICT.”
In his concluding statement, the acting VC stated that he didn’t promise a hitch-free ride, but by the Grace of God, they will be able to achieve all they have promised.
After two hours of meeting with the school management, the students’ representatives headed back to the SRC chambers to resolve. The final agreement was that delegates are to return to their constituencies and communicate with their students.
The meeting was adjourned to Thursday 21st January, 2021, so all student representatives will have time to communicate with their constituencies and come back to take a final decision.