Caleb varsity to refund accommodation fees to students, seeks parents’ support
Following the controversy between Caleb University management and parents over payment of sundry fees, including accommodation when schools are not in session, the institution has agreed to reimburse students in full.
Addressing a press conference at the university premises, Imota, the vice chancellor, Nosa Owens-Ibie, said the university’s e-portal was earlier opened in anticipation of resumption, but when it became apparent that schools would not resume in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, students were told to stop paying,
The vice chancellor disclosed that there are some students who have not paid any fee and were still given access to the platform.
Some aggrieved parents had protested the fees paid by their wards. The parents wrote the university questioning the payment for hostel accommodation and other services that were not provided as a result of the pandemic.
Other issues raised by the parents include the demand for full tuition during the pandemic, migration of students to the online platform without the knowledge of parents and guardians as well as decision making on a parent forum, which allegedly comprised less than seven per cent of the university.
But Owens-Ibie while reassuring parents of their understanding said the school is ready to refund the accommodation fees paid by students if they so desire or can use it once normalcy returns.
He said, “Anyone that paid for accommodation can have his or her money back or carry it forward. The records are there. There are some students who have not paid their school fees but were granted access to the school’s portal. When we started, every student was mandated to join the platform whether they had paid or not.”
The vice chancellor disclosed that the school has created some applications on Google Play store to further bridge the communication gap between the management and the parents.
“As at July 9, we launched two apps on Google Play store, Caleb Watch and Caleb Comment. The Caleb Watch is a health and security app. Every staff and student is supposed to download it. It also serves to protect our students because there is a whistleblower feature there. The Caleb Comment is for communication for parents and alumni. Any parent who wants to get across to the school can use those apps that we have thought about since last year,” he stated.
Speaking on the e-learning programme of the institution, the vice chancellor said the platform was created to avoid interruption with the institution’s academic calendar during the coronavirus lockdown.
“The e-learning platform is a product of necessity but we are happy that we did not miss a day out of the semester. We started on schedule and will be ending the semester on schedule. We had all our classes online, both undergraduate and postgraduate classes.”
Apart from academic activities, Mr Owens-Ibie said the students carried out some of their extracurricular activities online.
“On July 17, we inaugurated our Students Representative Council. The campaign, manifesto, election and all the things we believed students should engage in, even though we are a private university were done online,” the vice chancellor added.
On the controversial parents forum, Prof Owens-Ibie said the school has only one forum, which every parent is encouraged to be part of.
“We can’t have two. As we speak, the parents’ forum is building a medical centre for us and that is what we are saying, the parents should be our partner in progress.”