The University of Benin (UNIBEN) has given reasons for its decision to increase its tuition fee.
Last Tuesday, undergraduates at the Edo varsity had blocked off its gate to protest an increase in their school fees.
Lectures and other academic activities within the campus had been stalled as a deluge of students held up placards.
The protesters had lamented that the authorities increased the tuition fees for science students from N45,400 to N65,400 and that of art-related courses from N41,400 to N61,400 as a sanction for late payment and registration.
After two days of protest, UNIBEN suspended the hike while students waited for the varsity’s official stance on the issue.
In a conference on Friday, Liliam Salami, the vice-chancellor (VC), said the varsity senate had imposed the fine in an attempt to solve the problem of late registration by students.
“This behavior continues to have a negative downstream impact on our institution’s operations and ability to deliver the quality of education and students’ support that I remain committed to as vice-chancellor,” Salami said.
“Research shows there is a direct correlation between late registration and poor student academic performance.
“Less than 25% of our students register on time yearly. No functional or high-performing education institution can thrive with such lackluster statistics. Early registration is critical for the effective operations of the University.
“It is important to note that in the past, other non-financial interventions to urge early registration have failed.”
“On August 2, the university senate agreed to increase the existing payment of a late fee of N10,000 to N20,000 on all students who passed the due registration period as another attempt to encourage early registration.
“The good news is that we saw significant growth in early registrations, from last year’s rate of 35% to 93%. We haven’t seen this rate of early registration in decades. It is a UNIBEN record without question.”
VC confirms reversal of N20,000 fine, says some protesters were violent
Earlier, a student had narrated to TheCable Lifestyle how the VC’s security order to vacate campus was flouted.
It was also gathered that a huge number of students had stormed Salami’s office to shut down her power and water supply.
Speaking on the protest, Salami said a number of the students turned violent, endangering her and some staff.
“Protests and freedom of speech are a critical part of a well-functioning society. I continue to be an advocate for creating an environment where all members of the Uniben community can have a voice,” she said.
“That said, while most protesting students acted peacefully, a few turned violent, endangering themselves, their fellow students, and our staff (including myself). I am glad that the protest concluded with no one being hurt.
“As the Vice-Chancellor, I will continue to encourage fair, open dialogue, but violence in any shape or form has no place in UNIBEN and will not be tolerated. Freedom of speech does not and should never amount to chaos.”
According to the VC, the reversal of the N20,000 fine is permanent following the achievement of the sanction.
“As a result of the outcry from students, the senate reversed the decision to impose the late fee of N20,000. It is important to mention that this reversal in position will not break the University of Benin,” she added.
“I fundamentally believe that there are very few decisions that are irreversible and this is definitely not one of them. At this time, the N20,000 late fee is reversed and it is a closed case.
“Over the next few weeks, my administrative team and I will reflect on the lessons learned from the last few days.
“I have no doubt that it will shape our policies and back-end processes, how we gather the voice of the students and how we leverage technology to address these kinds of issues in the future.”
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