Halt IMSU’s no school fees no examination policy
Governor Rochas Okorocha should call the Vice Chancellor to order immediately and stop what has blackmailed him and his government.
Students should be allowed to pursue their education unhindered, even if they don’t pay, until they graduate when they must clear all outstanding school fees before collecting their certificate.
That is how it is done all over the world.
The IMSU policy is retrogressive, ill-advised and divisive.
It will pitch Imo State against the rest of the states in Nigeria.
This is not what should be happening in 21st century Nigeria.
It will not help education in Igbo land in particular and the country as a whole.
The development has de-marketed IMSU both locally and abroad as a glorified secondary school.
Those who made the decision have no respect for education.
Their lack of exposure should not be allowed to truncate the educational aspirations of the future.
All right thinking Nigerians are craving for quality education for all.
How can an institution in Igbo land and Imo State, for that matter that parades free education as its mantra, be segregating against the so-called “non-indigenes” over school fees payment?
Who are the “non indigenes”? Are they not Igbo children from Southeast states and by extension, other few Nigerians who may be at the institution?
The majority of the so-called “non indigenes” are Igbo children.
How can Igbo children be branded as non indigenes in Imo State! What a shame.
The development is sending ripples across the country.
There is concern that universities in other states may decide to apply the reciprocity principle by sending Imo State indigenes in their institutions out of exam halls for the same purpose.
Given that state universities, in most cases, are in the pocket of the governors, who literally rules the institutions from the state houses, all accusing fingers are pointing at Okorocha, as the architect of the IMSU action.
But did Okorocha, who is promoting the Rochas Foundation, dedicated to free education for all Nigerian and African children, authorize IMSU to chased students out of examination halls for non-payment of school fees? I have my reservations that the Governor could do that.
If the governor did not authorize the action, who then made the decision? Is it the Senate or the Governing Council? Or, could it be that the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adaobi Obasi, took a unilateral decision to act alone? How could that be?
The news flash came as a shocker last week that IMSU was chasing students out of examination halls over non-payment of school fees, but I didn’t believe it without confirmation.
I put calls across to a number of people in Owerri to confirm whether it was true. To my surprise it was confirmed.
I didn’t stop there. I decided to call the Vice Chancellor to hear from the horses’ mouth.
I was expecting her to deny it but she owned up with fierce defence.
The Vice Chancellor was more interested in defending the fact that no Imo State indigene in the institution had paid fees in the past three years of Governor Okorocha’s administration. According to her, they are chasing only non-indigenes in the university.
But the IMSU Public Relations Officer, Obi Njoku, reportedly said while non indigenes were being chased out of examination halls for non-payment of school fees, students who are indigenes of the state were barred from taking their exams for not paying what he called “ancillary fees,” That is to say both indigenes and non indigenes were chased out.
The reported protests by the students of the University on Wednesday and Thursday last week over the matter are understandable.
Their future is being tampered with. Not taking the exams will amount to repeating a year, which involves extra cost.
That would be double jeopardy for the students and their parents/guardians.
Some students interviewed said that the policy which started last Monday had denied many undergraduates and final years the opportunity to do their exams. This is insanity.
According to the students, security men were mounted at the entrance of every examination hall to prevent students who had no proof of payment of school fees from entering the examination halls.
They said some smart students who entered the examination halls were dragged out by the security operatives who said they were acting based on instruction from above.
You must show proof of payment of school fees before you are allowed to enter.
They say it is called “operation show school fees payment teller or you leave,” reports say.
The students felt embarrassed that this was happening to them as the governor had told them that there is free education from primary to university level in Imo State.
The Vice Chancellor had regretted during my phone conversation with her that some students were presenting fake receipts at the exam halls.
I put the blame squarely on her and the university for introducing what is alien to university system.
The development has reduced IMSU to the level of secondary school where students are chased away for non-payment of school fees.
Where lies the reputation of the university? Is IMSU chasing money or quality education churning out well-rounded useful graduates?
Worldwide, universities are not known to chase duly registered students out of exam halls for non-payment of school fees.
Universities operate on a level of standard that is flawless.
And like I said earlier, a university is an ivory tower, a beacon that shows the light.
How then could such an institution denigrate itself and attract opprobrium from the society it is supposed to show light?
An ivory tower is ought to be a repository of knowledge.
When the society turns around to throw stones at the ivory tower, it portends retrogression.
A university that condescends to the level of chasing or harassing students does not worth its name; it has sold its prestige.
That is why our institutions never make the list of reputable universities in the world.
Do the people who made that decision realise that they have brought infamy to IMSU?
Here are universities that operate without academic calendar owing to years of disruptive strikes.
Any issue could erupt and before you know it the institution is closed.
It is insensitive on the part of the authorities of IMSU to be frustrating students they were supposed to help graduate on time.
This madness should be stopped before it causes more damages to Imo State.