The parents of the students of Caleb University, Lagos State, on Saturday debunked speculations of having a running battle with the authorities of the university over school fees.
The Vice-Chairman of the Parents Forum, Oritseweyinmi Boyo, made this known while speaking with journalists alongside a cross-section of the parents, highlighting that there has been no crack in their relationship with the university management.
The parents explained that the body, Caleb University Parents Forum, has always been impressed with the school management’s decisions over the years, adding that the parents have been relating with the university management through the body, and at no time was there an unresolved issue that could lead to any crack in their relationship.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how about 121 parents complained about the management of Caleb University demanding for full tuition and also charged parents for services that were not provided, such as accommodation, internet, library, hospital and others.
The parents also complained about the university making a decision on a “Parents’ Forum” which over 90 per cent of them were not on and charging them for the same forum.
Reacting to the complaints of the parent, Nosa Owens-Ibie, the Vice-Chancellor of Caleb University told PREMIUM TIMES that the school charged the fees anticipating the early resumption of schools, whereby students will be able to access the services.
Seeing the late resumption of schools across the country, Mr Owens-Ibie said the management gave parents the options of requesting a refund or carrying the extra fees forward.
“Although the University had anticipated physical resumption during the semester, delay in resumption has led to the institution advising students who paid accommodation fees, of the option of carrying such component of the fees forward or getting a refund.
“Students were however allowed to register for courses on the portal during the semester, irrespective of fee status, while those unable to pay fees due to COVID-19 challenges were given access to the university’s e-learning platform,” he said.
With all the dust now assumed to have been settled, Mr Boyo confirmed that some students had paid their accommodation fees in anticipation of resumption but were advised by the school management to either carry such fees forward or get a refund.
He noted that he had personally called on any parent who had paid his or her child’s accommodation fee, to come up with the receipts of such payment for a refund.
The body commended the university’s management for ensuring no disruption in the school academic calendar with the e-learning initiative, which has enabled the students to interface with their lecturers.
The forum chairman also advised any parent with better suggestions to either channel such through the parents’ forum or directly to the vice-chancellor and stop making demands on the university.
He expressed the entire parents’ appreciation to the university management for coming up with a broader platform – “Caleb Connect”, a mobile App, through which parents and alumni can communicate directly with the university, while the second App – “Caleb Watch” takes care of the health and security needs of staff and students.
The parents’ forum said with the two recently launched mobile applications, the stage has been set for even better communication between the university and its stakeholders, stating that it was the cordial relationship existing between the parents and the university management that made it possible for the parents to commence the construction of a well-equipped multi-million naira medical centre in the school, which is expected to be commissioned in the last quarter of the year.
The Parents’ Forum treasurer, Juliana Falodun, in her remarks, commended the university for the effectiveness of the e-learning programme, stressing that with it, the university has been able to do everything online without any hitch.
Some other parents which include Olubukonla Akinrinsola, Oluwafemi Ajayi, Kunle Kilasho, Adaobi Ekwempu and Uche Omitayo corroborated the forum leadership position that the school authority had made it known that it would either make a refund to those who had paid accommodation fees or get it carried forward.
The body appealed to those who were making demands on the university to always get in touch with the school’s management on any issue for clarification and advised members to team up with the Parents’ Forum to always appreciate the university management for its consistency in policy direction, ability to maintain the university’s high academic standard, as well as ensuring no disruption in their children’s academic activities in spite of the lockdown.
The parents noted that with the effectiveness of the e-learning programme, the university should not discontinue the initiative even after the lockdown, but merge it with the traditional form of classroom teaching as it had reduced a lot of risk involved in travelling for lectures, meetings, project presentation/ defence and other activities.
Meanwhile, some parents, who disclosed that their children did not pay the accommodation fees and had unfettered access to the e-learning portal, thanked the university management for making available to the students’ periodic guidelines, and also for organising both general training session, college and departmental – level trainings for them to gain a mastery of teaching and assessment tools available on the e-learning platform.