Aggrieved students of the Kaduna State University (KASU) on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest in the main campus over plans by government to increase school fees from N35, 000 to minimum of N150, 000.
The students alleged the hike appeared to be a continuous attempt to deny them their right to education.
They described the action of Governor Nasir El-Rufai as a deliberate attempt to make education inaccessible to the masses in addition to N80, 000 hostel charges and sack of their parents who would have raised the fees
They said 75 percent of them and colleagues in other state-owned higher institutions may be forced to discontinue their studies if the plans go on as most of them hitherto battle to pay the old rates of N24, 000 and N35, 000.
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President National Association of Science Students, Abubakar Buhari, told reporters the old fee was between N24, 000 and N26, 000 depending on the course of study for indigenes while non-indigenes pay between N31, 000 and N36, 000.
According to him, the new fees schedule in the student’s portal showed that returning students would pay a flat rate of N100, 000 irrespective of the course of study and indigenisation while new indigenous students would pay N150, 000 for art and humanities and N171, 000 for sciences while non-indigenes would pay N221, 000 minimum.
For social sciences, he said indigenes would pay N170, 000, non-indigenes would pay N200,000 while indigenes admitted to study medicine would pay N300, 000 while non-indigenes would pay N400, 000
He said: “I assure you if this news fees regime is implemented, 75 percent of our students will drop out. The question is must a son of a carpenter become a carpenter? Must a son of a peasant farmer become one? Don’t we have a right to education a social responsibility?”
He warned failure of the government to rescind its decision may heighten insecurity in the state as dropout may venture into sophisticated crimes as means of survival.
President, Nigerian Association of Microbiology Students, Yusuf Rahama, noted education was one key thing that keeps students away from the street vices including banditry and kidnapping.
“Our parents are being sacked and we that are trying to acquire education to help them, the government, by increasing the fees is indirectly asking us to also go and sit at home.
“This is not fair. The government should decrease the fees since some of our parents are being sacked and can no longer afford to pay our fees,” he said.