The University of Lagos (UNILAG) has recently caused a stir among its student body and parents by requesting students staying on campus to bring their own mattresses and personal items. This seemingly unusual request has generated some backlash and protests, with parents expressing concerns about the rising costs of tuition, hostel fees, and the additional burden of furnishing their children’s accommodation. In this article, we will delve into UNILAG’s reasoning behind this decision and the implications it holds for both students and the university.
The University’s Explanation
The management of UNILAG has clarified that the request for students to bring their mattresses and personal items is primarily motivated by health and safety considerations. Adejoke Alaga-Ibraheem, Head of the Information Unit at the university, explained that this practice has been in place for some time and is not a new development. The university is also in the process of renovating various hostels to improve living conditions for students.
“We asked the students to come with their own beddings for health reasons,” Alaga-Ibraheem stated. “We are also working on the renovation of the various hostels. Some of them would be fully renovated before the students resume later in the month. Those whose renovation works might not be completed before the students resume, we are going to continue to work on them. We are working to make the hostels conducive for the students.”
UNILAG’s management is well aware of the welfare of its students and is committed to making their stay on campus as comfortable as possible. Regarding the complaints that the hostel fees should cover these items, Alaga-Ibraheem explained, “We all know the situation in the country and the cost of the items. N65,000 for a year’s hostel fee is not expensive, considering what people pay for private accommodation.”
The university’s stance on the matter is rooted in a desire to provide students with a safe and comfortable living environment, taking into account the economic challenges faced by many families.
While UNILAG’s explanation sheds light on the rationale behind this decision, some parents and students remain dissatisfied. They view the university’s request as an additional financial burden placed on them, especially in light of recent fee increases.
One anonymous parent lamented, “UNILAG is becoming a secondary school where students are asked to come to school with their own beddings. It’s unbelievable. This is a university that has just increased tuition and hostel fees.”
In the recent past, UNILAG increased several mandatory fees, including hostel fees. Initially, the hostel fee saw a significant hike from N25,000 to a range between N100,000 and N120,000, depending on the type of hostel. However, after vehement protests from students and parents, the fees were revised to fall within the range of N65,000 to N85,000.
It’s essential to consider that private hostels near UNILAG charge substantially higher prices, with some costing as much as N184,500 per bed space for a four-man room and N200,000 per bed space for a two-man room.
The decision by UNILAG to have students bring their own mattresses has raised important questions and has implications for various stakeholders, including students, parents, and the university itself.
Student Financial Burden
While UNILAG argues that the request is motivated by health and safety concerns, it cannot be denied that it places an additional financial burden on students and their families. With the rising costs of education and accommodation, students are already grappling with financial pressures. This request adds to their expenses, which may affect their overall well-being and academic performance.
University’s Commitment to Student Welfare
UNILAG’s commitment to renovating hostels and creating a conducive living environment is commendable. However, the question of whether these efforts align with the fees charged is a valid concern. The university must ensure that the benefits offered to students are commensurate with the fees paid, promoting transparency and accountability.
The Broader Economic Context
UNILAG’s explanation highlights the economic challenges faced by many families in Nigeria. In a country where the cost of living is on the rise, education and accommodation expenses become even more significant for families. UNILAG’s decision to consider these economic realities is essential, but it must strike a balance between cost-effectiveness and the quality of services provided.
In conclusion, UNILAG’s decision to have students bring their mattresses and personal items is rooted in concerns for health and safety. While this move has sparked controversy, it reflects the complex financial landscape of higher education in Nigeria. The university must continue to engage with stakeholders, including students and parents, to ensure that the welfare and educational experience of its students remain a top priority.