UNIOSUN: Creating A Niche Via Tuition Reduction

MY first direct experience with the high tuition regime obtaining at the Osun State University, known for short as UNIOSUN, was at its take-off in year 2007. That year, the institution conducted its first ever admission exercise for the very first set of students. Following the approval of the university and the issuance of licence…”
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September 28, 2011 2:57 pm
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MY first direct experience with the high tuition regime obtaining at the Osun State University, known for short as UNIOSUN, was at its take-off in year 2007. That year, the institution conducted its first ever admission exercise for the very first set of students. Following the approval of the university and the issuance of licence for its operation by the National Universities’ Commission (NUC) in 2006, precisely on Thursday, December
21, 2006; and the recruitment and selection exercise for its academic and non-academic staff conducted earlier that year; expectations were high that at last, relief had appeared in the horizon to put paid to the perennial bottlenecks which Osun State indigenes seeking university admissions
were constrained to suffer due to problems associated with catchments and slots. These problems were not peculiar to those seeking admission into federal universities alone; they took their tolls as well on those applicants seeking admission into the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology
(LAUTECH), Ogbomoso which is a joint property of Osun and Oyo States. There existed one more towering problem to which it was presumed that
UNIOSUN’s arrival had come to proffer a lasting solution to –once and for all. It was the problem of high tuition. It was then envisioned by many indigenes that with the arrival of a university that we could solely call our own, university experience could at last become an easy walk-over for
our youths from different socio-economic backgrounds, in terms of affordability, proximity and right of entry. But as luck would have it, a paradox was soon to set in. That paradox poised a serious threat to the “affordability” factor mentioned in the last paragraph. Soon,indigenes of Osun State were to wake up and come to terms with the fact that the Osun State University of their dreams was, instead of making tertiary education more
affordable to them, destined to remove that vital, ingredient for development far from their reach.Back to my direct experience, I got wind of the release of the first admission list into UNIOSUN in good time. I had vested interest in the list, due to the fact that one of my nephews was involved. I then took it upon myself to search the list up on the internet. It proved worthwhile and impressive! My beloved nephew’s name came out on the list for one of the courses in the institution’s College of Agriculture, Ejigbo. What pride it instills to be a pioneering student! I was exceptionally happy.
Next, I picked my cell phone to inform my brother- the father of the candidate involved – and to congratulate him over the boy’s fortune at having crossed the hurdles imposed by the “almighty” Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). From the tone I perceived at the other side of the line, I could diagnose indifference, lack of interest-and feeling of disappointment. The most debilitating, shocking bombshell came when by brother analyzed the wastefulness it could translate to if he should put his own child in a university owned by his state of origin at an exorbitant cost. His arguments were lucid, detailed and convincing. Firstly, the purposes of having a state university in place are defeated outright; if parents and their wards are made to cough out exorbitant fees in order to acquire quality education. Secondly, as pioneering students, it could not be guaranteed that facilities that present requisite competitive experiences available anywhere else in the world would have been on ground.Thirdly, my brother lamented the situation where the same students on who such whooping sums were spent would still need to rent apartments within the rural communities that hosted the institutions. The ensuing experience would reduce the institutions to the status of a “glorified secondary school”. On and on he went. And I reasoned along. At the risk of sounding immodest, I knew in my heart of hearts that the kind of education offered at UNIOSUN was not too unaffordable to us. But my brother was right when he concluded that If one would spend so exorbitantly to get his ward
educated at the university level, he would rather have opted for private universities that are well-known for their classy, opulent and ostentations charges. Gladly,we all know them too well. Following that dialogue, no more was mentioned of the issue. At least, between my brother and I, in the final analysis, my nephew gained admission into a federal university and he became the better for it.But there remains one side of the tale that
still puzzles me. Many of the wounded applicants of the institution, who had been incapacitated by the financial implications made reference to were not as lucky. While many of them are still scampering about for admission till date; many more had been relegated to a reproachful status of
drop-outs. This last development is sad, especially under a democratic context, where education should be a right and not a privilege. It is palpably disheartening that in an institution owned by our state, funded through our common resources and in which all of us hold stake, we (I mean all of us) are not offered an experience of building “a land of bright and full opportunities for all citizens.” This quoted excerpt is one of the cardinal objectives of the Nigerian society as contained in the National Policy on Education. “TOUGH times never last, but tough men do”; thus run the words of the sage. The people of the State of Omoluabi have survived tough times in the end. The magnanimity of the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has vibrantly come alive again. So much that we can proudly assert not to have had it so good.Recently,EngineerRaufAregbesola lived up to his promises, which he had reiterated again and again, to relieve parents and their wards in the Osun State University (UNIOSUN) from the horrendous burden experienced in the course of seeking functional education. Itwould be recalled that in February 2011, during the campaigns heralding the last general elections, Aregbesola had effecteda reduction in the tuition payable bystudents of other tertiary institutions owned by the stae. Then, a good cross section of pessimists viewed the gesture a cheap political gimmick intended at
ensuring electoral victory at all costs and by all means. The victory came in handy, courtesy of trust and love which the people have forAregbesola, his team and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Today, the people are justified and vindicated. Their love and trust have not been misplaced. Apart from the tuition of other tertiary institutions earlier reduced, the skyrocketing tuition of UNISOUN has finally been reduced.
Upon his assumption of office, Governor Aregbesola was noted to have queried the rationale for the raging high tuition at the Osun State University. This puzzle reverberated at the institution’s maiden convocation/prize giving ceremonies last June when the governor asked openly, in
the presence of all present, the reason(s)  that could justify the high tuition charged by the authorities of the university.The fullness of time came recently.Governor Aregbesola approved the downward review of the tuition fees charged by the institution by between 42 and 52 percent. This development has made the university to be set on the right course of its conforming to the true status of a state university established, funded,
and operated within the context of the needs, yearnings and aspiration of the people of the owner-state. The downwardly-reviewed tuition
regime, billed to take effect from September 18, 2011 is packaged in such a way that immediate refund of excess would be made to students who had
already paid the old exorbitant fees prior to the new order. Also, it was pledged that all the excess funds belonging to UNIOSUN, which were deducted from the tuition fees and kept in a savings account would be refunded. Revealed in the comprehensive package of the reduced school fees is the fact that students in the College of Law and their counterparts in College of Medicine would pay a tuition of N100,000, against N195,000
for indigenous and N205,000 for non indigenes charged by the immediate past administration. For the students offering non-science
courses, the reduction has brought their tuition from a sum of N130, 000 for indigene students and N140,000 for non indigene students to N75,000. The students whose offerings fall in the science category who had had their fees as N155,000 for indigenes; and N165,000 for
non-indigenes, have witnessed a reduction to the level of N75,000. The implications of the relief brought about by these reductions are many and
diverse. First and foremost, the shackles of stigma of a state where tertiary education has become outrageous and beyond reach, which the immediate past administration had imposed, shall now be broken.  Secondly, with the new tuition regime, which shall hence be found affordable by
a majority of indigenes and residents; the institution is being radically restored to its avowed philosophy or rather, what the philosophy of a state-owned university should be – provision of affordable quality education to indigenes and residents without restriction and discrimination to
the poor and indigent. Also in the spirit of benevolence which gave impetus to the reduction in tuition, never again shall reckless executives of
other states, in their rabid lawlessness, make Osun State a reference point while referring to states which give disincentive to education. Now and henceforth, Osun State has been restored to its old fame and traditions of providing high-quality education to youths without placing premium on financial gains. Another implication of the reduction is that it has brought relief and succour to the students of the state-owned university and their parents. In other words, various forms of inertia and inhibition hitherto suffered have been assuaged through the reduction in fee. In addition, the reduction in fee is a clear demonstration, in pragmatic terms, of the commitment of the Aregbesola administration to promote functional education and make it accessible to all andsundry; especially the masses and the indigent. Finally, the avowed commitment of the Aregbesola administration to ensuring the provision qualitative education that would not be watered down by the reduction in tuition. Also in spite of the reduction in tuition, it is well-envisioned by the administration of Ogbeni to maintain, update and develop a well motivated, well-seasoned and well

3 Comments

Adubiaran Ajani (Imoru Iwo)

I could see that there was no single comments on the above article probably because would be respondents do not understand or lack enough data to give or the article is seen as irrelevant. The writer displayed inadequate understanding of how universities are run in the past and the modern trend. Unfortunately his arguments were based SOLELY on the high fees but wrongly categorised as exhorbitant fees.

Let me quickly bring into focus the 13 items of expenfditure in a university system. They are the salaries of both academic and non-academic staff, Library which is the nerve centre of academics and research, for procurement of books,academic journals,maintenance of web site and the e-components and subscriptions to societies.Others are payments for electricity directly or through the use of generators and diesel procurement, water, funds for seminars, conduct of research projects, laboratory consumables as distinct from equipments.

Others are clinical equipments like cadavers and their preservation, residency/housemanship programme, staff developments for Phd sponsorships, farmland maintenance for arable, animal husbandry, fisheries and cash crops for the agric students,,

Others are trips to language schools and overheads and students exchange programmes.

But because it is our university, our collective inheritance funded by federal allocation and insignificantly by IGF i.e taxes collected from the people of Osun it becomes a wasteful effort to pay the exhorbitant fees to acquire QUALITATIVE education, more especially when the facility on ground could not be assured even when NUC accredited all courses after due inspections and gave a licence to commence operations and because our sons have to live in rented apartments within the indigenes who probably in our parental views cannot be trusted with the safety of our children as if the hostels in the acclaimed universities are safe from cultism, brigandage, promiscuity and environmental dirtiness. Of course LASU, OOU,are in the same category as UNIOSUN where students live at Ojo,Badore, Badagry,Festac and even VI in Lagos and in Ago Iwoye,they live in Ijebu Ode, Ilishan,Omu to mention a few.

If our children from Osun could not gain admission to universities adequately in the numbers we expected the catchment or JAMB could not have been their undoing. It is because they performed poorly and could not meet the standards set for admission in the face of limited space. The establishment of UNIOSUN does not guaranty that every indigene qualifies for admission even when they perform well in JAMB. The university will still have to admit the most qualified and competent candidates of OSUN who passed JAMB and post JAMB exams of the institution concerned.

I would like to commend the Governor of the Omoluabi state for fulfilling his campaign promise even in the face of the current strike by the staff of the 4 Osun state tertiary institutions. What he cut off from the tuition he will pay to the UNIOSUN by more allocation from the Osun state budget and the implications are likely to be inadequate infrastructural developments,increase in tax rates which may call for disaffection from indigenes who love them free or poor quality of delivery by UNIOSUN which may now reduce it to the glorified secondary school which is the current fear of the writer.

Fortunately the private university with their classy opulent ostentatios charges will still be there to send our children to when the tsunami of poor quality starts steering us in the face.

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Ajiboye Qasim

Aliamudulahi,we thank our elected governor Mr Rauf Aregbesola for decrement in the school fees of UNIOSUN may Almighty reward him .

Reply

Adubiaran Ajani (Imoru Iwo). you said it well. i like how diplomatic you were in your response. it is one thing to play to the populist agenda, it is another to consider realistic trends. considering the present complaint about low IGR and the funding, how advisable is it to effect a deduction in tuition which i cant say is not commendable.
but a leader goes has to make tough decisions sometimes, between seeking easy public support through such deduction in the cost of using public amenities or through good performance in other areas. i believe the latter is most important, there is really no need to start diverting new funds to uniosun which would have been self financing to a large extent on its own. but our opinion is all we can give.

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