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Parents at war with Babcock University management over N25, 000 compulsory Covid-19 test, other charges

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There is a build up tension at Babcock University following what parents consider as inconsiderate charges on the students by management.

The cause of the tension is a recent internal memo issued by management of the school to students signed by the institution’s Vice President, Financial Administration/Busar, Folorunsho Akande, titled “Students’ payment process for COVID-19 test”.

In the said memo, the school authority instructs students to pay a sum of Twenty-Five Thousand Naira (N25, 000), being cost for a compulsory COVID-19 test upon arrival on campus as the school physically resumes on September 20.

Part of the memo reads:

“Babcock University, Students’ payment process for COVID-19 test.

“This is to inform all returning students of Babcock University that payment for COVID-19 test is due upon arrival on campus as from 20th September 2020.

“Acceptable modes of payment are as follows:

  1. Bank Draft issued in favour of Babcock University (Health Services) to be presented on arrival.
  2. A direct funds transfer to Babcock University (Health Services) account with United Bank for Africa Plc.

Account number: 1023350446.”

Parents however see the payment for compulsory COVID-19 test as insensitive on the part of management considering the present economic realities in the country.

The parents wonder why a campus made up of students, academic staff, non academic staff and other officials would only have students pay for and be subjected to a compulsory test by the management.

A protest letter written by one of the parents by name Uduak Udombana states in part,

“I write this article in protest drawing strong inspiration from the words of Martin Luther King Jr that ‘He who accepts wrong without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.’

“Over the last couple of days there has been tension and much uncertainty regarding the resumption of students of Babcock University (God’s Own University) for the 2020/2021 academic session.

“Several questions and concerns have been directed at the university pertaining to fees, mode of resumption and the process of admitting students back on campus, if physical resumption is to follow suit, among others.

“A circular conveyed to the students via email by management on 12 September 2020 states the guidelines for the physical resumption of the batches A and B students on campus.

“Clearly stated in the circular is the mandatory COVID-19 test screening to be conducted on students prior to granting them access to the campus. Surprisingly, the cost of the COVID-19 test is required to be borne by the students.

“This is highly worrisome as it is on the school’s instruction that students are resuming physically, despite the ongoing pandemic. Why then should students bear the cost of the COVID-19 test? This is moreso as students pay medical fees which is included in the total school fees.

“Furthermore, it is clear that it is not only students that can contact the virus. Hence, if this test to be carried out is for the safety of the students as we are made to believe, management should make the test mandatory for all and sundry, including the lecturers and other staff of the school. Only then would this directive depict fairness and genuine concern for the safety of our health.

“It highly disturbing that despite the harsh and unforeseen economic climate resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the fact that a greater part of the session would be conducted online, the school has maintained that there would be no change in the astronomical fees that students are to pay; indeed there was a widespread rumour of an attempt at increment.

“The stance of the school is baffling considering that accommodation, feeding, utilisation of facilities, coupled with several other provisions by management would not be needed by the students for a greater part of the semester. This is in addition to lesser need for miscellaneous charges.

“Again, the burden of providing internet services to participate in online lectures during the course of the semester lies on the students.”

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