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ACU: Revamping the education sector
I was not happy when I saw the advertorial on the Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, on March 9, 2012, notifying returning students of the University of resumption for the continuation of the first semester on March 14, 2012. I was displeased with certain conditions on the advertorial that students should meet before allowing them access to the campus and to sit for the examination.
According to the Registrar, Dr. Mrs Josephine Oyebanji, in the conditions listed, each student is to pay a reparation fee of N15,000 only into the university account for damages done, and present the teller on resumption; submit a copy of sworn affidavit as a guarantee for good behaviour for the rest of his/her period of studentship in the university; submit a letter of assurance from his/her vicar/pastor or other reputable members of the public, that the student will be of good behaviour.
It will be recalled that the students of the Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, protested against the death of their colleague in the institution’s clinic, due to the lackadaisical attitude of the clinic’s staff and the ill-equipped nature of the clinic.
During the protest, some property were damaged, some burnt, while the school was eventually closed down. Before this ugly incident, there had never been a case of violence on the campus as our students are known as being peaceful, law-abiding and God-fearing.
My concern, however, is the way Nigerian students are being unjustly treated in their different campuses. The Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, happens to be a private university owned by the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, whose students pay exorbitant fees like other students in private universities.
Some parents who send their wards to these universities are paying through their noses, in order to give them uninterrupted education which is the opposite in federal government universities.
That was why students of the institution were provoked when one of them died in the institution’s ill-equipped clinic but are now to pay for damages.
Who then pays for the life of the student that was lost? What step has the institution’s authorities taken to upgrade the facilities in the institution, to justify the high fees students pay? Is the institution’s authorities ready to sign an undertaking, assuring parents that their wards’ welfare will be priortised? These are the questions I want answers to, as students resume for the semester.
Though I am not supporting the unruly behaviour demonstrated by students during any protest, my point is, “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
I, therefore, call on the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, to meet with the management of the institution, on how to improve on the standard of the facilities on the campus, based on its vision and mission.
I will also appeal to the Federal Ministry of Education, under the leadership of Prof. Ruqayat Rufai, to increase the funding to government universities, so that they can meet up with international standard.
The Federal Executive Council should not just establish additional universities or issue licence to new private universities without adequate funding of existing ones.
It will be recalled that in the recent report given by International Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, none of Nigerian universities was among the 400 best universities in the world. The best 10 universities in Africa according to the report, are in South Africa. What a pity!
In conclusion, I will also make a clarion call to all stakeholders in the education sector to put all hands on deck to revive our education sector.
To all great Nigerian students, I appeal to you to be focused, determined and law-abiding. Do not resort to violence, but always channel your grievances through appropriate authorities in the event of any abnormality on our campuses.
Ajiboye John Tosin,