S.D.D UBIDS: Preaching Empathy; Practicing Exploitation

S.D.D UBIDS: Preaching Empathy; Practicing Exploitation

On 9th of September 2019, the president of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo granted autonomy to the University for Development Studies Wa Campus under Act 1001 (2019) with a new name, “Simon Diedong Dombo University for Business and Integrated Development Studies, SDD UBIDS”.  

With this turn of events we least expected the Institution to be found wanting and getting things as little as fee schedule wrong. Within a space of less than two weeks, students have had two set of fees packaged and delivered to us via the school’s official website (https://ubids.edu.gh/admissions/tuitio-and-fees/). These excludes the already set of fees students are aware of since the institution has been using the flat rate system as an excuse to charge a static fee without adjustment throughout full term of pursuing a particular Programme. Over the years, we the students have viewed the flat rate system of charging fees as pure exploitation with ‘legal backing’. Unbeknownst to us the real exploitation was being cooked with immaterial ingredients termed components with spurious charges.

In a time of economic recession, retrenchment and laying off of workers, a time where government is granting reliefs to cushion households and a time where even ‘Private’ Tertiary Institutions termed as profit focused academic entities are giving up to 50% fee waivers. Our dear institution that preaches empathy as a tenet of holistic development has adjusted our fees upwards. This is barring the fact that part of last academic year was spent at home, monies earmarked to undertake some activities were let unutilized and most importantly the school’s inability to aptly roll out a Moodle system for seamless transition of teaching and learning during the closure of schools.

What even beats logic is the fact that this same institution did not sell admission forms to freshers. So, the question that begs answer is how come an institution that is able to waive charges on admission forms and is alleged to have admitted over 5,000 Freshermen, is charging continuing students fees that are more than that of the freshers. A careful perusal of the fee components of the various levels brings to bare an attempt of cost fixing just to make up the total of what is being charged as a lump sum.  More to the point how is it that continuing students are being charged GHS₵150.00 for Emergency Health and Sanitation whereas Freshers are being charged GH₵30.00 for same; why are continuing students being charged between GH₵1,509.00 – GH₵1,609.00 where as Freshers are being charged GH₵1,457.00? Doesn’t this beat logic? And before I forget, it is only in SDD UBIDS that Continuing students pay more (GH₵561.00 – GH₵729.00) for Academic Facility User Fee whereas Freshers pay between GH₵311 – GH₵363.00 for same and, how did I forget that continuing students (only Level 300) who are never given any new ID Card have a component for same in the fee schedule that costs GH₵50.00 (meanwhile in case of lost ID a student has to make a bank deposit of GH₵20.00 for replacement) how incredulous! Did Joshua just inform me that we have been paying hostel development levy in our fees without any meaningful renovation and expansion of on campus hostel facilities and that is aside the hall dues charged in the SRC Fees component and another Charge termed as Hall affiliation which students pay during course registration? These are just but a few of the questionable component charges in the fees.

These inconsistencies and disparities in the fee schedule are unforgiveable and can best be described as a subtle but clear attempt to justify the rip off of students and by extension parents/guardians. This is unacceptable especially in these not so good a time we find ourselves. I believe it is high time tertiary institutions in general come clean on the method of procedure of determining what goes into the components of their fees.

At this point if SDD UBIDS wants a smooth resumption without any untoward spectacle from the continuing students it has only two prudent options. Thus, maintain the flat rate for continuing students to pay the static fees been charged since we gained admission to this institution (which to us is choosing the lesser devil) OR charge the discounted fees of GH₵1,220.00 that was uploaded on its official website, which some students have already paid while some have made their parents aware of and expecting to receive same as fees payable. Save this, the school should prepare for what is to come from the continuing students in the coming weeks.

SN: students have to pay various additional dues that for some are in excess of GH₵200.00 before they are allowed to complete their course registration.

Ndukwe Emmanuel

B.A ICD – Level 400

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