The University of Lagos management has shown a clear lack of regard for students and a disinterest in fostering democratic values on campus. It has rolled out policies and taken actions that are making it extremely difficult for children from working-class homes to access education at the university.
The university arbitrarily increased obligatory fees to the distress of students and working-class parents. Because of this inhumane fee increment, many Unilag students have become beggars on the streets of Lagos, and on various social media platforms. Many of those who can not become street or social media beggars in their hundreds have dropped out as a result of being unable to pay the hiked fees. Despite the sharp increment of these fees, there is no noticeable improvement in the laboratories, studios, or lecture halls, not to mention the halls of residence which are deteriorating at a geometric progression rate, even after management’s increased the accommodation fee.
The institution has failed to allocate accommodation to new students, resulting in those who cannot afford extremely expensive hostels having to sleep in various motor parks around Jibowu, and worship centres (mosques and churches) on and off campus. Does this mean that a freshman is not a student?
Further, elections into executive offices in the halls of residence are about to take place with new students being denied the right to participate in balloting. Is this not political exclusion?
The primary purpose of establishing universities is for the students. These ivory towers are supposed to enable students to attain the heights of knowledge and culture. Pricing education out of the reach of children from poor working-class backgrounds and denying some sections of the students the right to full democratic involvement in any aspect of campus life make it impossible for universities to fulfil their primary purpose of enabling students to attain the heights of knowledge and culture.
by Timothy OBINNA