The Lagos State University (LASU) authority has announced a new timetable for the 2014/2015 first semester examination, which had earlier been postponed, due to the students’ failure to register online for their courses and the inability of the institution’s Senate to meet and ratify the academic calendar.
The announcement, made at the weekend, is coming on the heels of last Thursday’s protest by the institution’s students, who barricaded the Lagos/Badagry expressway to register their displeasure over the postponement.
According to the academic calendar ratified by the university’s senate at its emergency meeting held at the weekend, the first semester examination will now commence on Wednesday July 25 and end on Tuesday August 4, after the celebration of the Eid-el-Fitri. The semester would end on August 25.
The second semester has also been scheduled to begin on August 31 and end on December 29, with examination fixed for between November 23 and December 4.
The University authority had, last week, adduced two fundamental reasons for its decision to postpone the examination. It announced, in a statement, that the statutory ratification of the academic calendar by the Senate, which was needed to give the exercise the required legal backing could not be done due to the blockade of the senate building since March 16, by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU), as a result of which the Senate members could not meet.
Besides, the university authority said the non-payment of school fees and registration online by many students, despite several appeals, had also made the production of the examination dockets impossible.
However, the Students’ Union president, Adeyemi Wasiu Onikoro in a press statement issued on July 6, had described the postponement as “destabilizing draconian, and demoralizing.” According to him, “postponement of examination indefinitely because of students’ inability to pay is like killing a mosquito with (a) sledge hammer or giving a dog a bad name so as to nail it.”
On the second reason, he said: “the students’ union deems it fit to ask this particular question that, whose responsibility is it to convene or to ensure (that) senate sits to perform its lawful duty? Is it that of the students? If this question is answered in the negative, then the students’ union finds this particular reason baseless.”
In response to the protest, a top management source revealed that the students were one of the reasons why the decision to postpone the examination was taken. The source explained: “We had appealed to the students, since early June, that they should please pay their old school fees of N25, 000 and register online for their courses immediately. We also informed them that the portal for online registration would be opened from June 21 to June June 28.
“By June 28 however, over 3,500 students had not paid the school fees and registered. This is surprising because the university had refunded the excess school fees graciously provided by the state government to the students in full, so they had no excuse not to pay.
“That notwithstanding, we did not close the portal and extended the registration window from June 29 to July 3rd. Still, a little less than 500 students had neither paid nor registered. Recall that the crisis of January this year was caused by the refusal of about 1,000 students to register, despite several postponements then of the registration period. Now, we need all the students to register to enable us produce the examination dockets. If we close the portal and produce some examination dockets for only those who had registered, this means those who did not pay and register online cannot sit for the examination. We explained this to the students’ union leaders, so it is not the university’s fault.
“On the second reason, we also explained to the student union leaders long before we decided to postpone the examination, that the academic calendar must be ratified by the Senate before the examination could be held, otherwise, it would be in vain. We also told the students of the need for them to appeal to the unions to stop the blockade of the senate building, so that the Senate members can meet and do the needful.”