MSA CONDEMNS THE “NO SCHOOL FEE, NO EXAM” POLICY IN UNIBEN
It is the exam period. A time that students should be given the necessary comfort— both mentally and otherwise— to help build the needed confidence and preparation for their academic success, but, alas, as always, profit and a state of desperation have engulfed the Uniben management and its cohorts to initiate the “NO SCHOOL FEE, NO EXAM” with all of the displayed insensitivity to the economic hardship, tough times and crises forced on working-class parents and students since the Buhari regime came to power.
The Movement for a Socialist Alternative (MSA) rejects it outrightly and insists that on no account should any student be sent out or prevented from sitting for their exams because of this misplaced policy—which is falsely captioned by the management. We boldly state that all students have registered, and without so, they will not have been duly admitted. In reality, it is a situation of non-complete payment of school fees, which should not then, on its own, attract the above reaction from Uniben Management.
And instead of seeing this as a referendum on the part of students that the fee hike in whatever form was and is still a failure; and unaffordable to several students, it prefers to tighten the noose around the neck of Uniben students and their parents. This is cruel and unacceptable, given the extra mile many students go through to meet up with these excruciating economic demands forced on them— having to learn and survive at the same time.
Some students don’t have parents, students who juggle between working and learning— mind you, the salaries they earn are barely up to what they have to pay as school fees, hostel fees, and other outrageous fees in different forms. One has barely talked about feeding, or the price surge of almost every commodity. Some parents can barely keep up with the increasing hike in tuition fees. Not with government and employers owing workers’ salaries to be able to attend to their selfish interests, jumbo waste, and maximising profit at the expense of the majority of citizens.
While acknowledging the management’s one-week extension for all those who have not completed their school fees payment, we insist that it is a distraction and a recipe for mass failure at the exams— since this is a period to be employed to intensify preparation, study and revise for the examination. How then combine it with chasing or parading all about for money? Once again, the MSA oppose Lilian Salami’s “NO SCHOOL FEE, NO EXAM” policy.
We are not unaware that the Vice Chancellor and those who schooled in her generation benefited from a tuition-free, possibly affordable, quality education at their time. In fact, students who couldn’t pay minimal fees then compared to the outrageous monies students pay now were not denied sitting for their exams; they enjoyed the privilege of their final year clearance, and we don’t see why this tradition should not be maintained. The reason is that enough time is therein available to run around for whatever is needed to pay up the balance for the session. We can’t imagine students in their final year being denied sitting for exams at this point after spending four or more years. That would be an automatic carryover— another year of one’s life completely gone?
However, while we appreciate the effort of the SUG leadership, more can still be done to serve and defend the interest of the over 77000 students. The SUG should take it upon itself to ensure that no student is denied the right to sit for their exams. We call on the SUG to demand an extension of the deadline and work towards the building of better welfare conditions for all students: organise, sensitise, and lead the struggle for their interests and demands and not take the side of management under whatever guise.
The MSA also uses this medium to call on ASUU (Uniben Chapter) to solidarise with the students on this account and pressure the Salami administration to rethink the issue in contention. And take as part of its strategic solidarity support for students in the struggle for adequate public education funding. ASUU & NASU should unite to fight for the improved social welfare of academic and non-academic staff, implementation and Review of the minimum wage, the right of students to independent unionism to organise against harassment and victimisation of students or workers by the Salami-led administration and the government in the struggle for improved funding of education.
The MSA here states that the country is rich enough to run a no school-fees educational system, completely & publicly funded from the huge wealth and resources of the country, since education aims at the development of labour skills and manpower of the country. But painfully, capitalism is here the obstacle; it prioritises the primitive accumulation of wealth by private capital. It imposes a false debt crisis to enrich the IMF, World Bank and other International Financial Institutions at the expense of the well-being and needs of the population. The ruling class and their cronies benefited immensely from this arrangement.
As opposed to capitalism, the MSA champions and campaigns for the socialist transformation of Nigeria to have the wealth and resources of the country placed under public ownership and democratically managed under the control of the working people to meet all of our needs as opposed to meeting the insatiable greed for profits by capitalist bosses. With the above, the necessary adequate funding for education at all levels will be made available, the means of production will be developed, and all other sectors of the economy will be given all of the funds to boost it.
We call on change-seeking students and workers to join the MSA— a pro-student, youth, and workers organisation interested in intervening and building the needed solidarity for workers and students to organise against this system of exploitation— against capitalism, towards a better society for all where the means of production are democratically managed and controlled by the working class under a socialist economy.
1 No student should be denied the right to sit and write an exam they have studied and prepared for*
2 Extension of School Fee Payment till Final Year Clearance
3 Complete Reversal of all Forms of Hike in School Charges
4 Better Living and Learning Conditions for UNIBEN STUDENTS
5 For a governing Senate with the right of students and all other stakeholders, lecturers, and non-teaching staff to elect their representatives as members to be part of the decision-making process with the mandate to defend the wellbeing of students, lecturers and non-teaching staff.
6 For adequate and proper funding of public education, that must be Free affordable, and Qualitative.
7 For a political party of the working people, youth, and students to take on the ruling elites and capitalism. Thus, end its rule and bring socialism into being!
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