Edem Edem, Calabar
With Less than six months to the expiration of the tenure of Prof. James Epoke administration as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, things are beginning to turn out for worse as the management of the institution has hiked students’ school fees. According to sources, one of the promises made by the new Bursar of the institution, Mr. Peter Agi on assumption into office was to stabilize and regulate the charges paid by students in the institution, but with the recent developments it appears the reverse is the case.
The UNION investigations revealed that, with resumption of the new academic session, students were welcomed into the institution with a fee hike, especially for the Consultancy Educational Services (CES) students. Though, students through the Students Union Government, (SUG) had appealed to the school management for the reduction of the increments, and up till the time of filling this report, the appeal seems to be effort in futility.
The UNION also gathered that even the acceptance fee paid by new students have also been increased from N10, 000 to N15, 000 and with the Pre-degree (Remedial) students being asked to pay the acceptance fee also. Speaking on the matter, the SUG President, Mr. Ajang, Emmanuel said that he held a meeting with the management of the institution, and pleaded with them to reduce the fee increments, and they accepted to do so.
When asked why the increments were made in the first place without the knowledge of the students, he said that he is yet to know that. Some of the students, who spoke on the development, condemned the action of the school management. A final year student of the department of Geology, who identified himself as Udo Moses, lambasted the school Bursar for coming into office with a fee increment, saying that increment in school fees was not witnessed until he came into office.
According to him, Unical is the only federal institution in the country that her final year students pay over N35, 000. Odey Austine also a final year students of medical laboratory science said that he was surprised to be paying over N30, 000 as school charges, even when they say that federal universities are tuition fee free.
He called on the President and all other relevant authorities to come to their aid. Meanwhile, the Bursar of the institution had explained to students who went to him to seek for explanation on the increment.
According to sources, who spoke with him, the fee increment had become necessary since the University is no longer receiving federal government funding routinely, and that the dream of the institution to compete with the best in the world will not be achieved if new ways of funding were not initiated including raising the charges. Efforts by our correspondent to speak with the Bursar proofed abortive as repeated visits to his office yielded no positive result as it was gathered that he went out for official engagement.