Provost, COMUI addresses college students on the HPTL fee; calls for understanding on the need to pay for professional studies
By Chinedu Nwaduru, ABH PRESS
At exactly 4:15pm yesterday, the medical and dental students of the College of Medicine University of Ibadan, together with members of Academic staff; sat with the administrative staff of the college to discuss on the recent increment of the Health Professional Training Levy (HPTL).
Present on the administrative panel included Prof. Olapade-Olaopa, the Provost of the College of Medicine, Prof. Denloye, the Deputy provost; Dr. Mudi, the Secretary to the College; Prof Ogunbiyi, the Director of the College Medical Education Unit; Prof. Gbotosho, the Chairperson of the Students Affairs Committee, COMUI; Prof Owolabi, Dean of Faculty of Clinical Sciences and Prof Shittu, the Hall Master of the Alexander Brown Hall.
Seated among the academic staff included Dr T.A Lawal, Former Subdean of the Faculty of Clinical Sciences; Dr. Abdulmalik, Dr. Oluwasola (Subdean of the Clinical Sciences) among others.
Setting the tone of the meeting, the Provost placed the concerns of the HPTL as the primary agenda of the meeting, stating that there were plans to have meetings with other departments of the college as the days go by – in order to debrief them also on the need for the HPTL to ensure that members of the Executive Council do not tamper with the content of the information, acting as an intermediary between the college and the student.
Stating that there was no increase in the HPTL, Prof. Olaopa stayed that the reduction in the fee last session to 85,000 naira was the result of a concession between the administration and the students. The Senate of the University had already agreed that the HPTL be set at the price of one hundred thousand naira, which is what the college had implemented this year.
“The money is just a fraction of the originally calculated fees by the various departments of the college which was about four hundred thousand naira. It was the Senate of the university that decided that the one hundred thousand naira was appropriate because of the sensitivity of the issue”
Siting the example of the increase in dental consumables, he stated the need for the college to cover some of the core activities such as exams – of which the prices had been cut down.
“Right now, on my table is the quotation for the MBBS/BDS part III exams at one million naira. The past student executives calculated the amount and came to 350,000 which is similar to the college’s 385,000/ 400,000. But the truth is , no one has calculated the cost of professional training”
Going on to highlight some of the problems the college had faced, the provost decried the lack of funds for the college from the government, stating that the college had been relying on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which was mainly from research grants from faculty members.
“With the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), it has become difficult for the college to access funds. Now, we have to travel to Abuja in person to get money. Even for foreign conversions of currencies and withdrawals , we are now being charged for that – summing our losses to over 7.2 million per year. So where is the money for subsidy”
Talking about the sanctions of financial expenditures, the provost stated that a new system had been adopted -in which monies for a particular project cannot be used for any other project other than what it was earmarked for. With this, each class had a account in the college where all funds for the set are paid into, and as such – if the funds for a set is exhausted , then money cannot be taken elsewhere for any other project for the class.
“The HPTL is for anything related to professional studies such as accreditation, laboratory facilities for professional training. It does not even involve funds for examination papers . This is where the HPTL and tuition . Prior to 2019, accreditation was not the college’s problem but the university’s. But even the University can not afford to keep up with the materials necessary for accreditation and neither does the college. The vice chancellor invited me and the former CMD of the hospital. We came up with a sharing formula in which the university takes 40% and the COM and UCH takes 30%. The same vice chancellor has not given me 5 naira to buy Tom-Tom. But I could not argue because I am aware that the university has no money.
Right now, haematology alone needs 40 million for microscopes alone. 200 million naira needed for MDCN accreditation aside the 12 million naira for accreditation fee. NUC is also increasing the frequency of their visit from every 5 years to 2 years. That would also cost us. I have also just been reminded that 42 million naira is needed for Dentistry”
Speaking on the letter of appeal from the executives of the University of Ibadan Medical Students’ Association (UIMSA) Executive Council on the revision of HPTL
“It has been brought to my notice that many of you have been paying out of pocket for some things. It is not that we are not aware, but you know it more than we do. I need to commend the UIMSA executives in presenting some of these things to us. I am sufficiently impressed by the manner with which it was written. We have gotten to the point where there is some reason going on. Certainly we can dialogue. But we are looking at that. We have plans to renovate the reading rooms in Anatomy and put toilets for them there. We just purchased a brand new bus which was used to transport students to Igboora. But these things take time, as we know. This administration has raised over 777 million naira in cash and assets including 11 million which came in yesterday. It is just for you to know that soup wey sweet na money kill am”
He spoke on the scholarship scheme of the college to enable the indigent students of the college, stating that students will have to prove that they were truly indigent in order to get the scholarship and such students must be “truly brilliant”
“75% of students of COMUI attended private secondary schools whose fees were up to N200,000. We have the records. If you didn’t go to such school, then you attended a lesson. If you are truly indigent, we will give you a scholarship. But we cannot sponsor someone with 20 resist. Even the governors of the college have asked that scholarship schemes be set up. And the last time we asked for indigent students – 98 percent of you came up – which is a lie!”
“We have tried as much as possible to give a human face to this situation. But the truth remains that we have no facilities for the training. Even ABH, the way it looks is not okay by us. We are responsible for maintaining standards. I have been to other schools, in Michigan and they took us to their hostels. They are coming in March, and you want me to take them to that hostel (ABH)? We have set up an LOC to look into ABH. In due course we shall begin renovation of B block, courtesy of an alumnus.
An investor was supposed to sponsor the construction of a 300-bedded private – public hostel in ABH. Sadly, they saw our students on CNN. I have spoken with them again today and they are willing to recommence talks”
With questions entertained from various persons including the Presidents of UIMSA and UADS, Former President of UIMSA, Hall Chairman and Defense Minister of ABH – various members of administrative panel .
Speaking on the issue of the department of microbiology cancelling the tests for the 400 level class on account of lack of papers – the Deputy Provost, Prof Denloye blamed this on the department stating that they should have asked the money from the college – as it had already been earmarked. Going further to talk about the increase in dental consumables as highlighted by the UADS President, summarizing that the dental students will have to adjust to the inflation of the consumables
“I still use some of my dental instruments that I purchased since 1987. I paid for 10 porcelain crowns so I can practice”, she highlighted.
The provost went to on state that a time was approaching when students wishing to study dentistry be pre-informed of the high cost of education prior to getting admission.
Speaking on the deplorable state of things in ABH including security , the administration stated that issues regarding ABH issues should be channeled through the college rather than going directly to the university.
The provost barred the idea of students who were entrepreneurial, coming to assist the college in rendering their services in order to reduce the cost of out-sourcing some of the services such as photography, graphic designing etc – stating that the primary reason for student in COM was to study.
At the tail-end of the meeting, one thing was crystal in the minds of all who attended the meeting – the HPTL is one that may have come to stay.
The provost ended the two-hour long meeting by calling for all further deliberations on the issue be channeled through Professors Ogunbiyi and Gbotosho.