students of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Television College (TV COLLEGE) have accused the management of extortion, following the hike in tuition fees and introduction of N7,500 industrial training monitoring fee. The students are misguided, says the Acting Rector. YAKUBU BUSARI reports.

 All is not well at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Television
College (TV COLLEGE), Rayfield in Jos, the Plateau State capital. The
management and students are at loggerheads over a hike in tuition and
introduction of N5,000 as penalty for late payment. Students described
the action as extortion.
The students alleged that the Acting Rector, Ms Halima Bewell, is
extorting them by raising the school fees arbitrarily and making the
school unaffordable to the poor. Because of the hiked fees, many of
them, the students complained, have dropped out of the college.

The college was established as a diploma-awarding institution for
courses, such as Television Production, Journalism and Engineering. In
2003, it partnered with the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Zaria,
Kaduna State, to become a degree-awarding institution for Television
Production and Journalism disciplines only.

Since the partnership with ABU, the aggrieved students alleged that
the Bewell-led management has continued to raise the fee without any
improvement in teaching and supporting facilities. The students said
since the college is owned by the Federal Government, its fees should be

“We pay exorbitant fees that cannot be accounted for,” they wrote in their letter of complaint made available to CAMPUSLIFE.

The letter reads: “In 2014, the school fee was raised to N81,000,
which we agreed to pay. When we resumed for the 2015 session, the
returning students were informed by the school authorities that the fee
had been raised to N91,000. We were not told the modalities used to
arrive at the figure.

“There was no memo to the effect. The information came to us as
rumour and we complied. Those who could not meet up with the deadline of
tuition payment were asked to pay N5,000 as fine. Defaulters face
compulsory deferment of their programmes.”

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CAMPUSIFE gathered that freshers admitted for degree
programmes will pay N100,000, while their diploma counterparts are
expected to pay N120,000.

The management, the students said, extorts them by asking those going
for Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) to pay money to
the school. It was learnt that students, who will have their SIWES in
Jos, are asked to pay N5,500, while those going outside the state are to
pay N7,500. The management gave students three weeks to pay the fees,
after which defaulters would be fined.

Despite the increment, students alleged that the TV COLLEGE lacked equipment that could aid their learning.

“We are wondering what Ms Bewell do with the funds the school
generates, because we don’t have necessary equipment. We want the world
to know that students are financially responsible for all the expenses
on our production assignments. We don’t get anything from the school.

“The college does not have enough camera and recording gadgets. We
usually hire the equipment. The school has only two cameras for about
2,000 students. When students write to the management to release the
cameras for use, it is almost impossible for the school to release them,
because of the bureaucratic procedure, which made the management to
decline approval. As the only television school in the country, the
college is supposed to be transmitting but we don’t. We are supposed to
have a radio station, but the management does not look in that direction
except to exhort us.”

Ms Bewell denied the allegations, saying the students were misguided.
She said the decision to hike the fee was taken by the management team.
She said since she resumed as Acting Rector of the college, all funds
accruing to the college had been judiciously channeled for the
development of the institution.

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She said the increment was necessary to enable the school cope with cost of administration.

She said: “We struggle to maintain the college. We have been using
our internally-generated revenue to upgrade the school e-library and
sustain our website. We also provide facilities for accreditation of our
courses and pay lecturers.”

Asked if it was lawful to ask students to pay money before they could
be allowed to go for industrial training, Ms Bewell said the money to
be spent by the college to supervise the scheme would be more than the
amount students were asked to pay.

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She said the college had managed its resources judiciously, adding
that the major source of revenue for the college is from sale of Diploma
and degree programme forms. Despite paucity of funds, Bewell said the
management was able to maintain standard hostels and classrooms to
provide conductive environment for learning.

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