Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) students want school fees reduced citing Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced them to attend online classes.
The students argue that there is need for the school fees to be reviewed downwards since they are not enjoying medical service, sports and entertainment, library services among other things, which are inclusive in the school fees.
Led by the Students Association Congress Speaker Mr James Ogare, the leaners are also demanding for the scraping off the new academic policy, which they termed as punitive.
“We are calling for the institution to consider reducing school fees for this semester. It is unfair for tor the institution to expect us to pay for medical levy, sports and entertainment, water, and library yet we are not currently benefitting from the services,” he said.
He said the new academic policy is punitive and will prevent most students from progressing into another year.
“You can pass or fail in an examination, but we need to be allowed to prove ourselves,” Mr Ogare said, adding that the policy is “not considerate of academic timelines."
The students have called on the Ministry of Education through Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha to intervene on the matter.
TUM Activist chairman Mr Vincent Ochieng said the policy has affected the progress of most students who have failed in exams.
“Some of us fail to sit for exams due to lack of school fees while others due to sickness and end up missing special exams. These categories of students need to be given time to sit for the supplementary exams and even allowed to proceed to the next academic year,” Mr Ochieng said.
Congress member Mr Crispin Oloo accused the university administration of giving a deaf ear to their concerns.
“We had agreed with the administration that they will do away with the academic policy 6.10 but they decided to implement it without our input. This policy must be scraped off,” Mr Oloo said.
Mr Oloo also implored the administration to provide the students with data bundles to facilitate the online learning because most of the students have no source of income.
The government sponsored students are paying at least Sh19, 525 per academic year.
TUM Vice-Chancellor Prof Laila Abubakar speaking to nation.africa on phone dismissed the student leaders’ claims saying there was a Presidential directive that all universities be closed due to the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am not aware of any new academic policy. There is no new policy, the one we have has been in effect since 2017. They need to show you and tell you which one it is they are referring to. We have been having problems with students missing marks and the school senate decided that students have to clear their issues before proceeding to the next year,” Prof Abubakar explained.
She said the university has come up with supplementary examinations to assist the students not to miss marks, especially those that failed in various units.
“Some of these units are incremental and if you did not get this year’s, you cannot get even understand in following year’s unit. How are you going to pass? Am here for the benefit of students and not student leaders. Even if we allowed them to proceed to the next level will they graduate?” she posed.
The VC clarified that the students pay only 50 per cent of school fees which is supplemented by the Higher Education Loans Board.
“We cannot reduce the fees since they are paying Sh5, 000. There is not a nursery school that pays even that amount. The student leaders are misrepresenting facts. They should not be selective on airing their issues,” she said adding that the students have failed to reveal that they are still getting Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) loans for accommodation, yet they are at home.
She maintained that only students who have paid 50 per cent fees are the only ones eligible to get data to be able to access online learning.
“Students are still registering for online classes for the last two weeks. We have not yet started the classes since students are registering for the various units,” Prof Abubakar said.