By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
A total of 106 graduands bagged first class as the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) graduated 9,452 students during its 32nd convocation ceremony recently. The graduands are for the combined 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 academic sessions.
The university also reaffirmed its policies of “no payment of charges, no examination” and zero tolerance for cultism and examination malpractices.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt as part of activities marking the convocation ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ndowa Lale said 4,681 graduates would receive higher degrees from the School of Graduate Studies for the two sessions, while a total of 4,771 are for the undergraduate category with 3,205 for the 2016/2017 session and 1,556 for the 2017/2018 session.
On the payment of university charges, Lale stated that there is nowhere in the world where universities run on credit or are free.
He regretted that parents pay exorbitant fees for nursery, primary and post-primary education but raise eyebrows to meagre charges in the universities, yet they expect high standards.
“I have seen parents that pay more than N2 million for their children in private secondary schools, but when it comes to UNIPORT, they quarrel with the payment of N45,000. That is wickedness. Yet when you go to Ghana, more than 70 per cent of foreign students are Nigerians and they pay much higher fees in dollars.
“To make it easy, we have even asked the students to pay N22,500 in the first semester and pay the balance in the next semester, yet they are complaining.”
He also stated that even when some parents give monies to their children to pay their fees, the students use the funds for frivolities only to claim one excuse or the other.
He also noted that the university gives students more than six months to pay the fees but they would rather wait till the last day and claim there was congestion in the banks and that was why they could not pay their fees.
“So, we stand by the policy of ‘no payment of charges, no examination’ but it is not to victimise any student. We are doing our best to provide the students and lecturers the best facilities and these things cost money,” he stated.
He recalled that some students took the university to court some years ago over the policy, but the students lost the legal battle.