By Onome Oghenetega
Thousands of students of the Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku, on Wednesday shut down academic activities at the school premises over increment of school fee and introduction of new charges by the school management.
The students were also said to be protesting the ban by school management on students driving private vehicles into the polytechnic premises as well as the alleged harassment of students on color attachment.
NIGER DELTA TODAY (NDT) Online correspondent reports that the students also accused the school management of extortion amongst other things.
The peaceful protest led by the SUG President, Comrade Thompson Offune and other student union leaders commenced at about 6:30am with the students locking up the school gate and blocking the Ogwashi-uku/Azagba road.
The incident was said to have led to gridlock along the busy road as the protesters also called for the immediate removal of the newly introduced N7,000 Microsoft Certificate Programme for final year students in their Higher National Diploma (HND) and National Diploma (ND) programmes.
They described the programme as exploitative against the students in the midst of the prevailing economy hardship in the country.
The protesters also condemned the N4500 COVID-19 facility levy imposed on students by the management of the school as another way to financially drain parents and guardians, noting that despite paying the fee the school management was yet to provide handwashing facilities, sanitizers and facemasks for students.
“We’re also being billed for Entrepreneurship development levy including the practical, after paying N3,500 the school management, the course lecturer also demanded for another practical fees of N1,500 each from student.
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“School security personnel are also harassing students at the entrance gate. They also harass students with color attachments. This is a higher institution. We should not be treated as pupils in secondary schools. Just last week, management banned students from driving private vehicles to school”, one of the student union leaders said.
They further lamented that despite the huge fees and levies on students, the polytechnic still lacks infrastructure, adding “the school does not have enough lecture halls for students. A department of about 2000 students has just two lecture halls with no fans.”
However, efforts by the school management to prevail on students to allow staff and guests into the school premises proved abortive as the students demanded to see the Rector, Dr. (Mrs.) Stella Chiemeke.