From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Vice Chancellor (VC) of the UnIversity of Benin, Professor Lilian Salami, yesterday, re-affirmed the decision of the institution to reverse the N20,000 imposed on students for late payment of school fees, saying that the reversal will not break the University.
“As a result of the outcry from the students, the University Senate reversed the decision to impose the late fee of N20,000. It is important to mention that this reversal in position will not break the University of Benin. I fundamentally believe that there are very few decisions that are irreversible and this is definitely not one of them. At this time, the N20,000 late fee is reversed and it is a closed case”, she said while addressing journalists in Benin yesterday.
She, however, stated that late registration by students of the institution has a negative impact on the school’s operations and ability to deliver the quality of education she promised, adding that beyond distrupting university operations, research shows that there is a direct correlation between late registration and poor student academic performance.
“The issue at hand was and remains the increasing rate of late registration by students of the University. This behavior continues to have a negative down-stream impact on our institution’s operations and ability to deliver the quality of education and students’ support that I promised and remain committed to as Vice Chancellor.
“Beyond University operations, research shows that there is a direct correlation between late registration and poor student academic performance. The sad fact is that less than 25 per cent of our students register on time yearly; no functional or high performing education institution can thrive with such lackluster statistics.
“Early registration is critical for effective operations of the University; it provides insight into the students’ volume/demand and allows for smarter planning to ensure that we have enough staff, courses and funding to support our students accordingly. It is important to note that in the past, other non-financial interventions in attempts to urge early registration have failed”, Prof. Salami added.
She acknowledged the right of students to protest imposition of the late fee to make their voices heard, saying that protests and freedom of speech were a critical part of a well-functioning society which she will continue to advocate for creating an environment where all members of the Uniben community can have a voice.
She however pointed out that while most protesting students acted peacefully, a few turned violent, endangering themselves, their fellow students and staff of the university.
“I am glad that the protest concluded with no one being hurt. As the Vice Chancellor, I will continue to encourage fair, open dialogue, but violence in any shape or form has no place in the University of Benin and will NOT be tolerated. Freedom of speech does not and should never amount to chaos”, the Vice Chancellor stressed.