Students angry over fees hike and other issues

Students have reacted angrily at the raising of university fees to FCFA50,000 (US$90) as a harmonisation measure with other countries, as well as the withdrawal of student grants and lack of services.

Though the government banned a planned student march against the increase this month, UNET, the national union of Chadian students, said it did not intend to accept the decision lightly but would hold the government responsible for any consequences, reported Radio France Internationale.

UNET’s head, Guelem Richard, said there were no legal documents specifying that fees should be set at FCFA50,000, and the measure should only be applied taking into account “the social situation in which Chad students are living”, reported Radio France Internationale.

Richard reportedly said: “Students will be obliged to take wide-ranging action. And if such actions are banned by the public security ministry, only the government will be held responsible for what happens."

Among other measures the monthly grant of FCFA30,000 had been abolished, reported the, quoting the BBC.

It reported that the new university year 2017-18 was still not satisfactorily underway. According to an official at the higher education ministry, even with the introduction of the new fees, students were unable to pursue their studies because of the lack of libraries and transport.

In mid-October, as the new university year was about to start, Zaman reported that all students would have to pay fees in future instead of just those recruited for their first year.

The Higher Education, Research and Innovation Minister, Mackaye Hassane Taïsso, said the year was already starting late for various reasons, including non-payment of student grants and lecturers’ grievances, and he called on the university community to redouble their efforts because it benefited no-one to work during troubles and disruption.

“Following the example of other countries in CEMAC [the Central African Economic and Monetary Community] fees will be payable by all students, not only those who do not receive grants, as was the case until last year. Consequently, the rate of fees will be harmonised in respect of CEMAC’s directives,” Zaman reported Taïsso as saying.

At that time Richard called on UNET members to start the new year, while asking the government to improve student services, transport and restaurants, and to pay five months’ arrears of grants as promised. But Zaman noted back then that “in several institutions the fees are beginning to agitate students in the provinces”.

This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.