Group slams Fashola, APC over LASU fees palaver, says reduced fees ‘remain prohibitive and anti-people’

Posted by News Express | 20 June 2014 | 3,872 times

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The Lagos Democratic Movement (LDM); a coalition of civil activists and political actors in Lagos state, has outrightly rejected the percentage of reduction of the hiked school fees in Lagos State University (LASU) as announced by the Governor Babatunde Fashola-led administration.  “LDM wishes to categorically assert that the new fees regime in LASU remain prohibitive, largely insensitive and diversionary. The purported reduction in LASU fees leaves much to be desire as the plight of the students and their parents still remain largely the same,” the group said in a statement issued yesterday in Lagos signed by Olanrewaju Suraju, ’Debo Adeniran and ’Lanre Adeleke.

LDM in the statement, a copy of which was made available to News Express, condemned “the categorised reductions in the controversial school fees as announced by Governor Fashola following weeks of protests by the students. LDM wishes to assert that the supposed ‘gesture’ represents gross misrepresentation of the valid arguments that have been canvassed against the hike in the fees by a wide range of stakeholders.

“LDM is indeed alarmed that the All Progressives Party (APC)-led administration in Lagos state is yet to fully appreciate the crucial need to make education a common leveller between the rich and the poor in the society. LDM strongly affirms that Fashola-led administration ought to be more sensitive to the plights of students and parents as a demonstration of genuine commitment to deepening democracy and development beyond mere aesthetics that preoccupies attention of government and seeks to relegate the very people who are the raison d’être of governance. 

“LDM wishes to again remind governor Fashola and the leadership of All Progressives Congress in Lagos state that it is absolutely untenable to argue or insist that qualitative education is possible only when it is prohibitive. It is our conviction in LDM that qualitative education does not necessarily have to be expensive and inaccessible to the people as currently the case with LASU. LDM wishes to further assert that any policy that seeks to make education the exclusive privilege of the rich in the society and beyond the reach of majority in the society, through ‘appropriate pricing’ as in the case with LASU, is clearly anti-people and unambiguously counter-progressive.

“LDM is un-persuaded by arguments from government quarters which tend to suggest that our people should regard university education as a luxury served  à la carte by the elite to the exclusion of majority of our young citizens. We consider discrimination against innocent and qualified students on the basis that their parents cannot afford the prohibitive and discriminatory fees attached to some ‘elite’ courses as illogical and unacceptable. LDM believes that the categorisation of some courses as prestigious and status-conferral; regrettably by people in authority is misleading and divisive. Such misleading and divisive ploy by people who benefitted from free education and who ordinarily should appreciate the plights of our students and the parents further attests to the misplacement of priority by the government as manifested in its outrageous and discriminatory education policy.

“LDM is irrevocably convinced that education should remain a major priority of our democratic leadership and that government must be held to account on its commitment to providing qualitative and affordable education. LDM therefore demands that Lagos state government should accede to the request of the students and parents by reversing the prohibitive policy and adopt a more people-friendly position that would make education affordable and accessible in LASU as well as all Lagos state owned tertiary institutions.

“LDM therefore calls on Lagos state government to make more consultations with stakeholders, without further delay, as a way of making genuine and enduring resolution of the impasse. LDM also demands that the Lagos state government, without further delay, should take urgent and immediate steps to resolve all pending issues with the view to ensuring uninterrupted academic activities in LASU.”

News Express reports that the Fashola administration had on June 11 announced a reduction of LASU tuition raging from 34 to 60 percent across the different faculties and courses. LASU students have, however, rejected the gesture, insisting on N46,500 for returning students and N65,500 for freshers as the new tuition fee.

The fees had been astronomically increased from N25,000 to between N250,000 and N350,000, making the proposed reduction by the Fashola administration to be of little significance.

•Photo shows Governor Fashola.

Source: News Express

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