Coronavirus: Nigerian university to refund accommodation fees to students

The authorities of the Caleb University, Lagos said it is going to refund accommodation fees for all students already paid, following the coronavirus pandemic which led to closure of academic activities.

Penpushing reports that, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Nosa Owens-Ibie disclosed this at a press conference held on Friday, adding that, the university’s e-portal had been opened earlier in the year in anticipation of resumption.

The Vice chancellor explained that, when it became apparent that schools would not resume physically due to the pandemic, students were told to stop paying, assuring that, “anybody that paid for accommodation can have their money back or carry it forward. The records are there,” .

“There are a number of students who have not paid a kobo of the tuition fee and we granted them access. Some have paid only N50, 000 some have paid half and we granted them access. When we started, every student was mandated to join the platform whether they had paid or not.”

Penpushing further reports, the university authorities came out to explain the development following the complaints of parents of more than 100 students in the university over the fees paid by their wards.

The parents, it is recalled had written to the university questioning the payment for hostel accommodation and other services that were not provided as a result of the coronavirus, while other issues raised by the parents include the demand for payment of full of tuition fees during the pandemic, migration of students to the online platform without the knowledge of parents, and making decisions on a ‘Parent Forum’ which comprises less than 7 per cent of the university among others

Penpushing also reports that, the Vice Chancellor explained that, the university has only one parent forum which every parent is encouraged to be part of, adding that, “we can’t have two. As we speak, the parents’ forum is building a medical centre for us and that is what we are saying, the parents should be our partner in progress.”

The Vice Chancellor disclosed that the school has created some applications on Google Play store to further bridge the communication gap between the school and the parents, stressing that the applications will soon be available on Apple store.

“As at July 9, we launched two apps on Google Play store, Caleb Watch and Caleb Comment. The Caleb Watch is a health and security app. Every staff and student is supposed to download it. It also serves to protect our students because there is a whistleblower feature there.

“The Caleb Comment is for communication for parents and Alumni. Any parent who wants to get across to the school can use those apps that we have thought about since last year,” he said.

Penpushing reports that, Owens-Ibie, on the e-learning platform, said it was created to avoid interruption with the institution’s academic calendar during the coronavirus lockdown.

“The e-learning platform is a product of necessity but we are happy that we did not miss a school day out of the semester. We started on schedule and will be ending the semester on schedule. We had all our classes online, both undergraduate and postgraduate classes.”

The Vice Chancellor explained that, apart from academic activities, the students carried out some of their extracurricular activities online, adding that,“on July 17, we inaugurated out SRC. The campaign, manifesto, election and all that are things we believe students should engage in, even though we are a private university. We did all of it online.“There’s something our Final year students do.  The final year thanksgiving service. They did it. The choir performed and everything was done online,” .

Penpushing also reports that, he added that the platform had only 8% of the students’ population when they started but has grown to almost 100% now, despite the glitches of network irregularities and other technical issues

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