Politics, Seat of Power

LASU: Setting the record straight

Without doubt, infrastructure development at the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Lagos, is visibly progressing. Very soon, we are sure to realize the LASU of our collective dream and aspiration. Journey to the new LASU project began sometime in 2009, when the school was engulfed in a serious crisis. This disrupted the institution’s academic calendar for over eight weeks. In a bid to resolve the crisis, the various unions in LASU, including the ‘Student Union Government’, stormed the Lagos State House of Assembly with a demand that the state government set up a Visitation Panel to look into the various issues that were fuelling crisis. Of note then was the students’ description of their school as a “glorified secondary school” which they no longer liked.

On the 11th of November, 2009, the State Government inaugurated a six-man Visitation Panel led by Justice Olaseinde Silva to review various issues affecting the school. These encompassed the students’ affairs policies and practices from the point of entry to graduation, including admission, students’ welfare, regularity of attendance in class, conduct of examinations, maintenance of discipline, marking of scripts, release of results, record keeping, issuance of certificates and transcripts. Other issues for review by the panel included, mobilization of graduates for national youth service, staff appointment and promotion, staff welfare and discipline in the University.  The panel was also to examine the state of facilities and manpower in the school and proffer appropriate solutions and recommendations to government.

From the panel’s terms of reference, it is obvious that tuition fee increment was not contemplated by the State Government. However, when the Panel submitted its report, it found an increase of tuition fees inevitable if the University was ever to attain the desired level of excellence. It therefore recommended, among other things, an increase in tuition fees, replacement of the then Vice Chancellor, Professor Abdul Lateef Hussein, intervention of government in the upgrade of infrastructure in the school and intensification of efforts towards the accreditation of courses being offered by the institution.

On the Visitation Panel’s recommendation in respect of tuition fee increment, the State Executive Council, after weeks of painstaking deliberations, eventually approved, but with some modifications in order to lessen the burden on the students and, indeed, their parents. It was decided that the new fees should affect only prospective students. Those already registered in the University at the time were not affected and would continue to pay the old fees until they graduated. Furthermore, the affected new students were allowed to pay the increased fees on an instalment basis.

Still in an effort to ease the anticipated burden, an upward review of bursary awards to indigent students was arrived at while budget for scholarship and research was equally increased. It is in line with this policy that Government allocated a subvention of N32.152 billions to the education parastatals and tertiary institutions across the State in the 2014 fiscal year.

The following tables illustrate Government’s growing commitment to the State University.

BUDGETARY PROVISION TO LAGOS STATE UNIVERSITY/LASUCOM
SUBVENTION

YEAR 2009 – 2014

S/N

YEAR

APPROVED BUDGET

TOTAL(N)

LASU(N)

LASUCOM(N)

1

2009

                2,950,000,000               1,500,000,000              4,450,000,000

2

2010

                3,000,000,000                  971,794,054              3,971,794,054

3

2011

                3,000,000,000                  941,794,054              3,941,794,054

4

2012

                4,320,000,000                  940,000,000              5,260,000,000

5

2013

                4,749,470,208               1,188,468,276              5,937,938,484

6

2014

                4,874,240,585               1,188,468,276              6,062,708,861
  TOTAL              22,893,710,793               6,730,524,660            29,624,235,453
 

CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

YEAR 2009 – 2014

S/N

YEAR

APPROVED BUDGET

TOTAL(N)

LASU(N)

LASUCOM(N)

1

2009

                   400,000,000

              1,629,421,120

             2,029,421,120

2

2010

                   350,000,000

              2,032,900,000

             2,382,900,000

3

2011

                3,622,000,000

              3,000,000,000

             6,622,000,000

4

2012

                2,000,000,000

              1,000,000,000

             3,000,000,000

5

2013

                2,549,350,294

                 281,531,724

             2,830,882,018

6

2014

                2,616,322,689

                 300,000,000

             2,916,322,689
  TOTAL              11,537,672,983               8,243,852,844            19,781,525,827

BUDGETARY PROVISION FOR SCHORLARSHIP/BURSARY FUND

YEAR 2009 – 2014

S/N

YEAR

Approved Budget

Remarks

Scholarship/Bursary Fund

Bursary for new intakes at LASU

 

N

N

 

1

2009

                   800,000,000

 

2

2010

                   400,000,000

0

 

3

2011

                   450,000,000

0

 

4

2012

                   688,500,000

                250,000,000

 

5

2013

                   800,000,000

6

2014

                   861,345,600

                200,170,500

 
  TOTAL                 3,999,845,600                 450,170,500  

 

It must be emphasised however that LASU is and cannot be fully funded through the tuition fees being paid by the students. The students who pay the new tuition fees began payment only two sessions ago. Of the over 12,000 students in LASU, only 2,153 is expected to pay the new fees. This amounts to N459,257,960.00 paid by students in years one and two.

The total revenue of N459m expected from tuition fees is a far cry from the State Government’s required expenditure on the institution. In 2014, about N9.2 billion will be spent by Government on LASU alone, out of which N2.6 is for capital expenditure and N6.6 billion is for recurrent. Out of the N9 billion proposed to be spent on LASU, less than half a billion naira will be generated from tuition fees!

The plain truth is that it is impossible in today’s world to get quality tertiary education at N25,000. Governments around the world invest more money to fund basic education than tertiary education. This is to create a platform for more people to be educated. Therefore, the decision to change the tuition fees in LASU, was taken in the best interest of the students as well as the school, and government will not shy away from its responsibilities either in LASU or elsewhere.

As a government that has demonstrated, beyond all doubts, its genuine intention to transform all sectors of the State, the Lagos State Government remains resolute and unwavering in its commitment to the delivery of quality education to its citizenry.

We have signed a social pact with the good people of Lagos State, and we shall continue to work around the clock, until the last day in the life-span of this government, to fulfill our own part of the social contract. We are strongly committed to building a new LASU that everyone and, indeed, coming generations would be proud of. That is our goal. That is what is good for the people. That is what we are striving to achieve. Being the State of Excellence, Lagos deserves nothing short of this.

Lateef Ibirogba

Honourable Commissioner,

Information & Strategy

March 23, 2014

 

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