By Ikhili Monday EBALU, Benin City
Activities at the University of Benin was on Tuesday disrupted as post-graduate students and security operatives in the institution clash.
The post-graduate students were protesting introduction of what they termed payment of oral defence fees (External examiner fees) by the school management.
They gathered at the school gate to block the entrance when the school security operatives reportedly swooped on them.
It was during the fracas that two of the students were reportedly injured and taken to the school clinic for medical attention.
A breakdown of the oral defence fee otherwise known as ‘external examiner fees’ showed that Phd students are to pay N90,000, MSc students are to pay N60,000 while Pgd students are to pay N30,000.
What angered the students was that they would not defend their thesis and get their results without payment of the fees.
In the protest letter presented by the protesters, the students claimed that the new levy was not captured in the school financial requirement during the admission process.
They said the levy was to be paid into a UNIBEN Cooperative account instead of Remita (TSA).
Also, they alleged that some departmental officials are already demanding for bribe from them ‘with the promise to help them circumvent the external levy fees.
One of the protesters who pleaded anonymity said the university management wants to make them pay the external examiner.
He said, “What they are calling oral defence fee or Proposal Defence fee if for us to pay external examiners to look at our thesis.
“We stage a protest two weeks ago and part of the recommendation was for the management to make news applicants pay. We have them two weeks ultimatum to revert the decision.
“The two weeks elapsed and we decided to stage this protest. We want to collect our results and go. The school security had a clash with us and some students were injured.”
Spokesman of the institution, Mr. Michael Osasuyi, said the new levy was proved by the institution’s council and that management only carried out directive of the council.
Michael stated that some of the post-graduate students have complied and paid but others are resisting payment.
He said the levy was to enable the post-graduate programmes run smoothly without hitches.
He said those that failed to pay were not ready to defend their thesis and graduate from the institution.
Meanwhile, In order to improve the educational quality of her students, the University of Benin (UNIBEN) has deployed the first indigenous software for the conduct of Computer Based Test (CBT) of internal and external examinations.
Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Osasere Faraday Orumwense made the revelation during the institution’s 2017 Information Communication Technology (ICT) Day.
Orumwense also said that plans were underway to launch the Uniben Open Course wave which according to him, will make the University top the rankings in Webometrics.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the University’s spokesman, Mr. Michael Osasuyi.
Osasuyi sad, the Director of Nigeria Research and Education Network (NREN), Abuja, Dr. Joshua Atah made presentation at the event through live streaming to audience.
He said the live streaming titled: “Unlimited Access to Learning for Everyone, Everywhere: ICT the Rostrum” was aimed at buttressing the efficiency of ICT in the 21st century .
According to him, Dr. Josha Atah in his lecture posited that learning has gone beyond gathering in a classroom as it can be deployed from different locations to a large group of persons.
The University’s spokesman further quoted the lecturer as saying, “I-LABS, E-Libraries, E-books, E-Resources, Repositories, Edu-roam and video-driven lectures like Youtube are some of the huge benefits of ICT which saves cost, as well as human and non human resources”.