Report by – IjebuMetro ;
Confused voices as TASUED SUG President is arrested and released
It has been claims and counter claims in Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ijebu Ode as news filtered out of disturbances in the institution.
It all started on the morning of Tuesday, January 3, 2017 when the first semester examination was scheduled to commence. The students led by the SUG had started a mild protest in the Ijagun and Ososa campuses of the school. This became worrisome when they successfully disrupted the examination. At this point, the management was said to have called in a team of soldiers who were alleged to have taken away the SUG president alongside some members of his team. They were later released in the evening of the same day.
The students were said to be protesting an astronomical hike in the institution’s Vocation levy which they claimed went from N1,000.00 to N25, 000.00. They were particularly emphatic that their colleagues were being denied examinations for not paying the levy even when they have fully paid the tuition fees. The students were asking, at the very least, that students who have paid the tuition but have not met the vocation levy should be allowed to write the first semester exam and pay after. The management was said to have refused the appeal and gone ahead with the examination, barring anyone who had not paid the levy.
The vocation initiative is one that stands on its own in tertiary institutions and students are expected to choose one of a number of options like dress making, fish farming, computer, catering services and fruit juice production. The purpose of this is to empower the students with survival skills in addition to what they learn in the classroom. At the end of the study, the students are awarded a separate certificate.
Students who spoke to Ijebumetro on the issue gave some insight on what was the annoyance of the students. A student claimed that persons in charge of the various courses have always coordinated the activities and received payments made by the students. Following complaints and a desire to standardize procedures, the school management stepped in to regularize the activities but seized the opportunity to hike costs. Another student explained that it was not an outright hike but that money was added here and there and it totaled N25,000.00. Another major anger of the students was that the vocational activities were, according to them, sham. One student said her class had to buy fingerlings and throw into the fish pond and that was it. They said they do not remember anyone who had collected the said certificate.
The curious side of this, however, is why the students waited until the morning of the commencement of examinations to act on their grievances. It is unclear if the students had interacted with the management of these issues before the morning of the protest. However, there is no doubt that there is a need for students in tertiary institutions to continually engage their management without being unnecessarily confrontational.
Another matter that gave the protesting students much support among their colleagues was the claim by many students that they heard the state government telling the world on TV Continental that the fees in their school was N40,000 whereas they were paying almost double that. The feelings of the students is that the state government was underfunding tertiary institutions, forcing them to adopt arm-twisting techniques to raise the fund needed to pay the staff and maintaining the school. While commending the school for managing to meet its responsibility, the source said the school must not take the students for granted.
This situation once again brings to the fore the number of students dropping out of Ogun State tertiary institutions because of their inability to meet the financial requirements. A former student of the institution said, “you can never imagine the number of students who drop out of school every year.” According to this source, many of them remain within the school environment living and behaving like students whereas they are not registered. Some are unable to go home and they hang in and ‘graduate’ with their friends.
Still on grievances, some 300L students told Ijebumetro that they live under the premonition of disaster because students who fail any more than two courses in both semesters of their 300L studies, will not be allowed to proceed on Teaching Practice and will not graduate. Asked if the move was not aimed at arresting the poor attitude of students to their studies, the source responded that with students being stopped from writing examinations because of vocation, there was bound to be failures. The souce also pointed to the number of courses a student has to deal with in a specialized school like Tasued. Students take courses in the cognate areas, take courses in Education, in addition to GNS and Vocation.
As of the time of filing this report, students in 300L English were being checked into the examination room in a very peaceful environment. Efforts to reach the SUG president to get a firsthand account of the incident and what their next course of action would be was not successful.
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