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INSIDE LASU: Students Agitate Against Poor Program Implementation And Welfarism

Some students of the Mass CommunicationDepartment in the Lagos State University have demanded better classrooms to promote learning. They did this through an agitation at the School of Communications courtyard, LASU Ojo, Campus on Tuesday, 27th of September 2021. 

Students agitating at the School of Communication’s courtyard, LASU, Ojo Campus

The management of the Lagos State University had earlier merged the two undergraduate streams that the university operated and mandated them to have combined classes against the terms with which the students were admitted. 

Some lecturers across Lagos State University have resorted to teaching students virtually due to the overpopulation of classrooms and the health risks that they are exposed to.

Students of the School of Communication marched in unison to the courtyard of their faculty while chanting solidarity songs, in what they refused to acknowledge as a protest after chaos broke out in one of their classes. 

An eye witness, Babalojoku Samson, who is also a stream one student, explained what led to the agitation. 

“We were at the Eco library (a classroom for Communications Students in LASU) trying to have a meeting about the merging of stream one and stream two students, how it is affecting us and the possible solutions, but the class was too populated and we couldn’t pay attention.

Overpopulated Eco Library, LASU, Ojo Campus

“The HOC (Head of Class) went to bring the public address system but we still couldn’t hear what he was saying. We got angry and complained, [asking] why the school would subject us to this kind of inhumane learning environment. We all marched out towards the faculty to lay our complaint and it wasn’t intended to be a protest, we just wanted them to hear our grievance. We are not animals and they have children too.” 

A stream two student, Aisha Yahyah, narrated that: “The whole problem started in the fifth or sixth week of resumption when lecturers told us to meet our program coordinators as regards our lectures. We learnt that the lecturers to teach us were not being paid their salaries which is why they have not been attending our classes.” 

“The information was followed by a broadcast message on WhatsApp [saying] that the management has merged us together with stream one and that we should attend classes with them to avoid being on the losing end.”

Another stream 2 student, Abaya Olatoke added that “The school should fear God and do something about it. How can over 400 students receive lectures in the Eco library, a classroom with a small sitting capacity?” 

“Receiving lectures in a heat pod like the classroom is equivalent to a death sentence, I’m not even vaccinated and COVID-19 is real.”
“They promised us entrepreneurship classes and they are not fulfilling their promise, I’m tired already.”

The President of the Communications Student Association, Sanni Omolaja, while addressing the students, commended them for being the first to openly complain about the merger of streams in LASU.

Badmus Uthman, the Lagos State University Student Union President, while addressing the students, said: “Your president had earlier laid a complaint to me and I’ve discussed it with the Dean student affairs and we are working on it.”   

The Dean of Students Affairs, Dr Tajudeen Olumoko, addressed the crowd saying: “Whatever your issue is, you should let us know as world-class students. Your complaints have been heard and will be discussed at the next senate meeting on Thursday and you’ll get feedback by Monday.”

The Dean, School of Communication, Professor Sunday Alawode, said to the students: “We will resolve the situation such that your classes will not hold together as one, stream one and two classes will hold separately but the exam will be the same and will be conducted together.” 

Pointing at a building under construction, he said: ‘It will be completed in the next two or three months, it has so [many] classrooms and they are for you. Just be patient for us but for now, you will not be choked up in the classrooms again. You will have different classes where you will be taught the same thing and be examined together. The major issue of receiving lectures together in a class will no longer be, in the next two months the building will be ready.”

The students, however, promised that they would return to agitate on Monday if they do not receive a favourable response from the Senate.

LASU Stream One And Two Undergraduate Programs Chronicled

The management of Lagos State University, under the leadership of the immediate past vice-chancellor, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun, launched the stream two undergraduate program for university applicants in 2019. 

The Punch Newspaper reported Professor Fagbohun saying: “The second stream undergraduate program of the Lagos State University was introduced to help deepen entrepreneurship skills of students of the institution,” while addressing journalists in Lagos in November 2019.

Fagbohun added in the report that: “The entrepreneurship program, which would run along with normal undergraduate degrees, would prepare students to be self-employed and employers of labour.” 

According to him, research indicates that Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) employ more than 80 per cent of the workforce in Nigeria.

“That is why we have very close working relationships with SMEs, so they can impact the university and impart the right entrepreneurship skills to the students,” he added.

The Vanguard Newspaper also reported in 2019 that the former Vice-Chancellor, while addressing pressmen in his office said: “The policy (Stream Two Undergraduate Program) is optional for admission seekers. It was started after due consultations with appropriate authorities at state and federal levels.” 

Fagbohun further said in the report that those admitted through the stream paid a total of N180,000 including tuition, acceptance and medical fees because they would be attached to partners outside the university who would take them on various skill acquisition programmes.

He added that: “The difference between them and other intakes is that they will take those skill acquisition courses throughout the duration of their degree programmes. They will be certificated in those entrepreneurship courses too. It is like what we have in places like the United States where you can major in Accounting and do a minor course in Economics, for instance.

“They will run their normal course work on campus and it means they have to put in more hours to do the entrepreneurship courses. There are about 79 courses that they can choose from for their entrepreneurship training.

Poor Implementation Of The Stream Two Program By Management

Speaking with stream two students of the Lagos State University, Campus Reporter confirmed that the program has barely succeeded since its inception almost 2 years ago.

Olatunji Adebisi, a 200 level stream two student in LASU, complained bitterly about the program, saying: “We have entrepreneurship classes just once a week and it’s always clashing with my major class so I have to ditch it for my major class. On top of that, we have to gather and use our monies to procure materials to use during the entrepreneurship classes and we paid N150 000. LASU was never ready for stream two.” 

“I’m glad that they merged us with stream one, lecturers are not enthusiastic about teaching us like they are with them. Oftentimes, they come to our classes tired, stress is written all over their faces.”  

100 level stream two students in the School of Communication, Faculty of Art and the Faculty of Law confirmed that they have not had any entrepreneurship class since resumption on the 2nd of August. 

A freshman at the School of Communication added that: “Our Coordinator directed us to the entrepreneurship building and they told us that we should be patient, we can only begin entrepreneurship classes after we’ve been orientated on the options available.” 

“They didn’t tell us what exactly is delaying our orientation though, we’ll go again, I hope they answer us this time around.” 

Another freshman at the faculty of Art expressed her displeasure over the situation, she said: “It is not okay that we are not having entrepreneurship classes yet, this is the 8th week of resumption, this semester is almost gone and the only distinguishing feature between us and stream one students is the entrepreneurship offer. We paid for it, it is only fair that they teach us already.”

In conclusion, fresh stream two students of Lagos State University are appealing to the school management to hasten their entrepreneurial orientation so that they can begin to receive their long due classes.

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