The attention of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, has been drawn to a sheer blackmail making the rounds to the effect that the Institution is extorting money from its students. As a responsible Institution whose motto is “Skills and Integrity,” KWASU has continued to make probity, transparency, and accountability its watchwords right from inception. As a matter of fact, no major decision has ever been taken by the management without wide consultations and communication with key stakeholders, including students. For instance, two years ago when academic departments were planning to introduce some departmental charges of between N15, 000 and N20, 000, to reflect the peculiarities of courses offered to their students, parents were invited to KWASU’s annual Open House session where they were properly briefed and where discussions were openly held on the need for such charges. We hereby give open invitation to parents, senior secondary school teachers, potential students and the general public to the 9th KWASU Open House on our campus in the summer of 2019, please be on the lookout for this and the subsequent ones!
Since the inception of the University in 2009 till date, NOTHING was ever added to the annual tuition fee being paid by both freshers and returning students, rather annual tuition fee was SLASHED by the State Government from the original N99, 500 (and the sundry fees of N50, 000, making a total of N149, 500 per year) for indigenes of Kwara State, as paid in the earlier years, to now N49, 500 tuition fees (with sundry fees of N50, 000, making total N99, 500 per year).
KWASU has not increased tuition fees in the last seven years. And KWASU does not charge discriminatory tuition in its courses, whether you study engineering or you study History, you pay the same tuition fees!
In spite of this, the University has continued to excel in setting the pace in providing unique and qualitative education among tertiary institutions in Nigeria, including offering exceptional undergraduate programmes, such as aeronautical and astronautical engineering, entrepreneurship education, tourism, hospitality and events management, among others. We just introduced a unique academic program of Advanced Military Studies at the doctoral level!
This academic year (2018/2019), and as at Sunday 23rd September 2018, about 80% of students (both returning and freshers) have indeed paid ALL their fees, hence this blackmail in the social media can be described as an afterthought and of no good intent.
It is clear that there is nowhere in the world that is serious about providing good facilities and working hard to ensure second to none education standard, that students won't pay fees such as the token ones introduced for services rendered.
Consultations were initiated before decisions on introduction of e-learning were reached. Thus, the e-learning service fee of N7,000 was arrived at after extensive consultations with the stakeholders, the students inclusive. KWASU opted for the service approach after considering it as the cheapest option to implementing blended learning pedagogy for the students. Some universities opted for pre-loaded branded hardware approach in which the students were made to pay N50,000 or even more. Online schooling has been identified as the most realistic mode for universities to provide higher education for the ever-growing populace. The National Universities Commission (NUC) and other bodies are encouraging and facilitating the adoption of this mode. Projection has shown that greater percentage of the degrees of the future would be online. Therefore, KWASU, like other universities,has taken the initiative of keying into this innovation by inculcating the skill of online learning in the students for them to be on a par with their contemporaries worldwide. We believe only a retrogressive individual will seek to paint this cost effective and essential programme in a negative light to achieve selfish goals.
KWASU has an existing policy, which makes it mandatory for its newly admitted and final year students to be accommodated on campus and in school-controlled facilities off campus. The wisdom behind this is to properly guide and monitor the new students, as well as protect the final year students who might be vulnerable to all manner of distractions as they prepare for their graduation. The university also gives room for exemption, but students who wanted exemption are requested to apply at an appropriate time and exemption cases are treated on merit.
The management wishes to clarify that enough provision was made to accommodate all eligible students on and off campus. Up till now, there are plenty of spaces yet to be occupied by the students: more than 600 bed spaces for male and more than 300 for female are still available. In addition, some students who paid for bed spaces but failed to clear them at the appropriate time had to forfeit such to enable bed spaces be reallocated to other interested students. Those allocated to hostels less than the amount paid, were requested to apply for refund of their balance, and such refund was being paid from last week Friday.
KWASU recently launched an in-house portal (myportal.kwasu.edu.ng) which focuses on the University’s progressive and unique activities.The new portal takes into consideration the cutting edge advancements in education as applied by KWASU across various undergraduate and graduate programmes and would do well in responding robustly to KWASU’s internal matters. One of the benefits of this initiative is that the payment platform has achieved yet another feat! Students have been making payment of tuition fee and other fees in a combined transaction with just N300 for the combined transaction. The feat is as significant as it reduces the burden of having to pay N300 for individual payments as in the past. Another benefit of the new in-house portal is the fact that the newly admitted students have been assigned matriculation numbers and consequently issued with the University Identity Cards well before Matriculation Ceremony! In addition to this, there is Wi-Fi connectivity to make learning a worthwhile experience for KWASU students.
Our Department of English developed a GNS book published by the Kwara State University Press. N3000, for GNS book on Use of English, is paid only by those who offer the course after which a copy is given to each person, a standard practice in many other universities in Nigeria. The University reviewed and considered this a fair price for the book. KWASU does not allow for handouts or any payment in any form for handout by lecturers and a zero tolerant policy is maintained on this.
Finally, the university is conscious of the fact that we are in political campaign period and our state has attracted a lot of interest lately, hence some individuals from all political leanings may be using students to achieve their campaign ends. This is observable from some of the postings that have dotted the social media sphere in the last few days. Our appeal to such and their allies from all sides among students is to desist from using the future of our youths as bait in political gamble. Education is a worthwhile gift to our future generation and this should not mix with the individual ambitions of those who seek power.
In a situation where 80% of students (new and returning) have already paid full fees and classes have progressed well beyond a month, it is amazing the sudden blackmail being made of KWASU now. For two days since Friday, University Management and Student Union leaders and department association representatives have met several times and have decided to move forward with strength and focus. We have set up committees to monitor any issue internally and address them promptly anywhere it might surface from. KWASU is not looking back from its destiny of providing young Kwarans and young Nigerians a cutting-edge education in all the disciplines that we offer. Again, we invite interested persons to visit our campus and be our partners by investing in a public education venture, including PPP student housing, and many more on our 21st Century Campus!