Following the spate of protests that have greeted the increase in tuition recently announced by the Governing Council of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, the Ondo State Government on Tuesday came out with its position on the contentious subject.
A statement, signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Yemi Olowolabi, stated that the government was compelled to explain its role in the decision leading to the increase in tuition for the state-owned university.
"Following the protests that have trailed the increase of tuition for students of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, by the Governing Council of the University, the state government is compelled to state the following:
"It is very important for the general public and the good people of Ondo State to note that the tuition was arrived at and announced by the governing council after robust and exhaustive meetings with the university's stakeholders, including the staff, students and parents.
"It is equally important to note that the current fee of between N23, 000 and N37, 000 charged by AAUA was introduced about 18 years ago at commencement of the University in 2000.
"How do you explain the fact that students in the Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa (OSUSTECH) pay between N120, 000 and N150,000 as tuition per session, those in the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo (UNIMED) pay between N200,000 and N450,000 per session."
The statement listed series of problems, all arising from shortage or total lack of funds, that have confronted the university in the last five years, and stagnating the growth of institution.
Olowolabi said: "At the beginning, especially between year 2000 and up till year 2013, the University had it good with subventions from the state government for payment of salaries and execution of capital projects.
"The fortunes of the University began to suffer with the downturn in the economy of Nigeria, becoming more serious from 2014, when the payment of subventions began to suffer and was eventually reduced.
"It is rather unfortunate to note that, for a University of its status, no fund has been released for capital projects between 2014 and now.