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The poison of increased university tuition

In summary, the publication was the proposal of NUC’s Secretary, Professor Julius Okorjie that “students in government universities should pay N150,000 as minimum tuition fees”,…

In summary, the publication was the proposal of NUC’s Secretary, Professor Julius Okorjie that “students in government universities should pay N150,000 as minimum tuition fees”, and statements he made saying that “the future of university education is the private university”, and that “out of about 2,600 universities in the United State of America, close to 2000 are privately owned”.

In no time, I realized why the publication has to be copied and its spread hurried. It was an epidemic that has all the potentialities of eliminating feeble students out of the university system with a cranium of capitalism that has no sympathy.

 I pronounce myself utterly speechless to convey how I felt concerning this new scheme that is simply a death sentence to the future of many youths of this country. But a number of them tut-tut under their breath and refused to gaze into their future for the fact that it has no worth.

The common question that lingers in our minds was if this proposal is established, how many poor children will see the university walls? And how can such a proposal come from a whole ‘professor’ who is assumed to know the worth of education and the means of distributing it to every one?

In person, I had a flash back of the nightmare I passed through before I was admitted into university. I held a mirror to my background and foreground, the spikes that dot my path to acquiring education and instantly realized that I face an unceremonious eviction from the ivory tower. It was this fear that is the motivation for my picking up my pen to write this article.

 It is an irony that Nigerians who benefitted from free education, I mean those that education provided them a sanctum even though they were from impoverished backgrounds, these same Nigerians who have risen to be professors and captains of industries will today pretend they don’t know the value of making education easy and accessible to all their populace. It is unfortunate that we seem to have a mindset that views riches and poverty as something that works within a circle.

Even at the current rate in which tuition fees are charged we still have to embark in all sorts of menial labour or rely on the benevolence of relatives to meet up. We still miss meals to continue to cope with our financial difficulties until the semester is over; our campus cafeterias have vanished into history. Girls are forced into harlotry to survive the hardship in the academic environment.  With nothing to cheer them up, some students fall into the traps of drug addiction and all sorts of social vices like cultism. Some have signed a hermitic life and find religious extremism fascinating. Those more endowed academically turn themselves into the academic hirelings of children from rich homes, helping them to pass exams. Despite all these sad academic monsters the federal government thinks it is only when tuition fees are increased that university education can be revived in this country. Will the children of the poor ever smell the air of the university campus?

Best student performances are not only to be found in private universities. Bayero University is accredited the best university in the country, ironically, it is one of the low-priced university if not the cheapest in Nigeria. I registered with less than N9, 000 this session. If Bayero University can achieve this status and maintain affordable tuition fees then how do we justify the argument of those who want an increase in tuition fees?

Nigeria seems now to be a country built for the benefit of the few to the detriment of the majority. Those with the tools to mend our country have thrown away the screws and bolts. We need to bear in mind that even when one has graduated it is like arming himself for a never-ending war of survival. First degree is regarded as a security for gaining a meal ticket. Let us have it! Nigerians should come to our rescue. Let us benefit from the riches of our country. We should all rise and say no to N150, 000 tuition fees. For those who choose to remain on the sideline and do nothing I would only remind them that they don’t know when it will be their turn.

Sani is a student of mass communication from BUK, Kano