Relief at Delta Polytechnic
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Students of Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku, staged a protest last week following a hike in school fees and other dues. However, authorities at the institution rescinded the decision much to the relief of the students,report ELIZABETH MORDI, DUMKENEOLISE OSAKWE and GRACE NDUKWE (DELTAPOLY).
Relief came the way of the students of Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku last Wednesday following the decision of the school management to reverse the hike in school fees.The students had taken to the streets to protest the newly introduced Microsoft Certification Programme fee of N8,000 added to their tuition.
This followed the protest staged by the students that same day at the polytechnic gate.
The Students Union Government (SUG) President, Thompson Ofunne, told CAMPUSLIFE that the school leadership suspended the extra fee after serious negotiation in an emergency meeting.
“We have come to an agreement with the school management and the Microsoft Certification Programme fee has been suspended until further notice,’’ he said.
Students of the institution were delighted following the decision of school authorities to rescind the hike.
Moments after the protest,the Rector, Prof. Stella Chiemeke, announced the decision of the leadership to suspend the hike in school fees, throwing the entire institution into jubilation.
Nneka Chiazor, Financial Secretary of the Association of Mass Communication Students in the institution, said the rector chose to reverse the fee because she was moved by the plight of the majority of the students.
She said: “I feel very happy that the authorities decided to listen to the voice of the students because many of them are striving to make ends meet.Our Rector Prof. Chiemeke rescinded the earlier decision because she is a mother; she understands the plight of the students. From all indications, she was not happy with the whole development from the word go. She pleaded with the Governing Council to reconsider their position in the interest of the students.”
A National Diploma 1 student, Mass Communication Department, Jonathan Moses, also expressed gratitude to school authorities.
“I feel elated because many of us are facing numerous challenges at the moment. Not all students would have been able to afford the new rate. I thank all the students that came out to protest against the increment.
” You can see the joy being expressed by all the students. We are very happy about the decision to revert to the old school fees. The reduction would allow the students to take care of other needs. It could have resulted in some students dropping out of school.
“I would also advise school authorities to remove other levies that the students are being subjected to in these trying times. For instance, how can we be compelled to pay N4,500 for COVID-19, when we are not being given hand sanitisers, face masks or buckets of water to wash our hands when entering the school? The authorities should know that we are students and that we are trying against all odds to acquire knowledge, so what we need is encouragement,” he said.
Another student who simply gave his name as Tega said:
“If we failed to act at this point, the authorities would continue to take us for granted. Thus, we decided to rise and fight for our right. The first hike was in the cost of transportation, then the so-called COVID-19 dues.”
A ND 2 student of the Department of Public Administration , Mark Ojimoufo lauded the management for suspending the additional N8,000 for Microsoft Certification Programme.
He thanked the school management for listening to the voice of the students and taking measures to appease them.
“We are happy that the management were able to immediately come to terms with the SUG and suspend the Microsoft Certification Programme fee.
“We believe that this would go a long way in boosting the morale of the students to study more and also reduce the burden on our parents,” he said.
Mordi Onyebuchi, an ND 1 student of the Department of Mass Communication, while praising the school management, also pleaded with them to do more in the areas of school dues.
“The school management has really tried by taking immediate action to suspend the Microsoft Certification Programme fee ; but I believe it can still do more.
“Our school dues should be reduced to allow for quick and easy payment. We the new ND1 students have to pay up to N20,000 just for school dues and this is after paying school fee of N52,000.
“The school management should look into this and take appropriate measures to lessen the burden on our parents,” she said.
Another student of Mass Communication Okechukwu Famous said that the immediate suspension of the Microsoft Certification Programme fee shows that the school management actually cares about the students.
“We have heard about protests in other schools whereby the demands of the students were not met and in some cases, the instigators of the protest were even suspended.
“But our Rector has proved her leadership acumen by listening to the voice of the students and responding immediately by suspending the additional fee,”he said.
An HND 2 student of the Department of Mass Communication, Jude Chukwunwike called on the school management to always try to carry the SUG along while making decisions in order to avoid dissatisfaction.
According to him, the protest was as a result of the school management keeping the SUG out of the picture when making the decision to add to school fees.
He urged the school management to work hand in hand with the SUG to prevent dissatisfaction and promote peace in the school.
Nkechi Jennifer Uzoka, an HND 1 Public Administration student, said she felt relieved when the school authorities reverted to the old school fees. She said: “Nowadays paying our school fees and other expenses are already becoming a big burden to our parents, so increasing the fees will increase the burden. As a non-indigene, I was supposed to be paying N63,000. When N8,000 was added to the fees, it came to N71,000, which is a huge amount of money.
“As I said, it would have increased the burden for my parents, I feel very, very relieved and okay. I thank the rector for giving us a listening ear. I also thank the Student Union Government (SUG) . Students of DSPG should also be praised for coming out in their numbers to protest the increment in the school fees.”
Uzoka believes nevertheless that the victory may be short-lived, as the authorities may decide to increase the fees in the not too distant future.
She said: “I feel this would happen again because the economy may further nose-dive next session and the school authorities would have no other alternative but increase the school fees again. I pray it doesn’t happen anyway.’’
Agha-Okoro Maryann, an ND 2 student of Chemistry, said she did not expect the authorities to rescind the decision and so it was a pleasant surprise for her. She said the student body deserves commendation for speaking loud and clear with one voice.
She added: “I don’t think they would have changed their minds, if we had not come out in large numbers to protest, almost immediately the announcement was made. So, I am very, glad the additional fee was removed at the end of the day.
“The school fees was initially N20,000 and later N30,000. But today, it is above N50,000. I hope we don’t experience an increase again in the nearest future.”