FUNNAB PGD Students Threaten To Quit Over Fees

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Crisis is looming at the Federal University of Agriculture, FUNNAB, Abeokuta, Ogun State, southwest Nigeria, as the Post-Graduate students of the institution are threatening abandon their programme over an alleged high-handedness of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole.

The students, who are about 2,000, under the aegis of Post-Graduate Students Association declared that they might quit if the school’s management insists on increasing the fees for the Post-Graduate programmes.

Our correspondent gathered that at a meeting of the association where the decision to quit the programme was discussed, the students said dialogue to resolve the matter yielded no results, adding that the last option might be for the students to quit the programmes.

Speaking with our correspondent in Abeokuta, the President of the association, Durosomo Hazeez explained that the students have to take their destiny in their hands, should the management fail to reverse the decision.

He explained that the reason given by the university for the increase in school fees was not acceptable to the students, adding that most of what the students are being made to pay  were contained in the recent agreement between ASUU and the Federal Government.

Hazeez who described the increase as arbitrary, alleged that students now spend up to four years for the Masters degree programmes as against the stipulated two years.

According to him, “No doubt, the programmes here are of standard, but can you imagine increasing fees just because they brought someone from Zaria, Kano and the like and because of the plane ticket, hotel fees and honorarium! What we are looking at is: are these not what ASUU agreement with the Federal Government entails? In the agreement, there is honorarium for both internal and external supervisors. I believe all these things were put in the agreement to make things easier for post-graduate students, but on resumption, the fees have been increased.

“All we are hoping for is that the management will see reason with us and will be able to reduce the fees. We understand that there may be some technicalities that we may not understand as far as management is concerned, because management is always right, but the increase is about 38% higher while late registration fee has been jacked up to about N25,000.

“There is no light at the end of the tunnel, there is nothing, what I saw was that the Vice Chancellor made it known that the Federal Government does not sponsor post-graduate studies, and they pay honorarium for external supervision. The two sentences are what we don’t understand. We now spend 3 – 4 years for Masters programme.

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“Frankly speaking, what we are planning to do is something I can’t really say but what we are hoping for is to exhaust all forms of internal dialogue with the managemen. But if they insist, it is left for us to decide our destinies. But I am sure the majority will quit the programme.”

While reacting to the threat action by the Post Graduate students, the Dean, School of Post Graduate, Professor Ololade Enikuomeyin explained that the increase in the schedule of fees was  well thought of, adding that, it has passed all due processes put in place by the institution for such increase.

The Professor, who maintained that there was need for the increment explained that the government does not give subvention to post graduate courses unlike undergraduates.

He advised the students to refrain from the threat of abandoning their programmes, adding that, threats will never help the matter at hand.

“The true position of things is that the situation is not as bad as presented. To be specific about the issues raised, I acknowledge that there’s increment in the schedule of fees and the details of that will be made available on the internet very soon. Understandably, an

average student would not want fees to increase, but you will also agree with me that the onus lies on the management of a university to do the course benefit analysis of the cost of running a programme and determine the cost of it.

“I made it clear that the justification for the schedule of fees had been well thought of and it wasn’t just an idea of an individual. It had gone through the statutory procedures that the university has set for such reviews and the last schedule of fees was about five years ago. The fees had to be increased to enable the school deal with the challenges of keeping standard,” he explained.

—Abiodun Onafuye/Abeokuta