Open protest letter on ‘illegal, exploitative’ fees in NOUN by Dr. Raimi...

Open protest letter on ‘illegal, exploitative’ fees in NOUN by Dr. Raimi Lukman

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OPEN PROTEST LETTER FOR UNACCEPTABLE, ILLEGAL AND EXPLOITATIVE PAYMENT FOR CLEARANCE FOR CERTIFICATE AT NOUN

My name is Dr. Raimi Lukman, one of your PDGE students from Ikeja Study Centre Lagos. I enrolled in 2013 and completed my project in 2016. My name was listed among those that graduated in 2017 with matriculation number NOU134738***. I wish to congratulate the management of National Open University on the recently concluded convocation ceremony held at the National Headquarters of NOUN at Abuja.

It is instructive to note that, I could not attend the just concluded 2017 graduation ceremony because of official assignment in my workplace and secondly because I could not complete the clearance process, which is a precondition for collection of certificate at the National Headquarters. Interestingly, today 23RD February 2017, I was at the NOUN’s Office, V/Island Lagos for clearance before going to Abuja for collection of my PGDE certificate. At the Faculty of Education, I presented all my printed receipts, copies of bank tellers and dully stamped course registration/examination forms to the courteous staff, who subsequently directed me to go to the Accounts Section for clearance.

At the Accounts Section, a lady looked through my documents and requested that payments for Teaching Practice and Research Project were missing. I told her that, I don’t have receipts for these payments because the two contentious courses were not written courses, that I paid for these courses (the sum of N15,000 and N25,000 respectively) from the balance of N44,000 in my wallet on the student’s portal. I further explained that, in recent time I could not have access to my personal portal for no faulty of mine. When my explanations fell on deaf ears, I told her that as Accounts Section of the University, there is need for the Section to maintain a server for backup of all financial records and students’ transactions. She responded that the University migrated from her former website to another website and consequently access to the former database has been blocked by the former service provider.

Strangely, the lady in the Accounts Section concluded that, I must provide the transaction details for Teaching Practice and Research Project before clearance would be given. Otherwise, for no fault of mine I was advised to proceed to pay for both courses again. At that point, I told the lady I will petition the authorities of NOUN for exploitative and illegal charges.

In retrospect, I enrolled for PGDE in NOUN effectively in 2013 and online facilities were provided for payments, registration, and transfer of cash from the wallet and 24hours access to personal student’s portal. De-hosting of NOUN’s website which has prevented me from having access to personal registration forms, cash balance in the wallets and other transactions is a breach of the terms of agreement and philosophy of Open University. I deserve apology and empathy rather than penalty for clearance.

Permit me Sir, to state that I paid over N250,000 for registration, examinations and course materials (which were not given) from 2013 – 2016. As at the last view of my wallet, I have a cash balance of N4000 after paying for the two contentious course fees. Asking me to pay another N40,000 as penalty for clearance is unacceptable, illegal and exploitative. It cannot fly. It is tantamount to punishing an innocent person for the negligence of website de-hosting and for not having back-up for all your university’s financial transactions. I have all the tellers and receipts for all my bank transactions, but I do not have access to two transactions made directly from my wallet on the portal. If the authorities of NOUN would provide me access, I would provide the printout for the two outstanding transactions within minutes. Sir, please resolve NOUN’s rift with your service provider and do not pass the buck transaction reconciliation to me. I paid for the PGDE programme through my hard earned money. I need my certificate urgently!

In view of the anomalies raised above, I humbly request the authorities of NOUN to look into this matter within the next one month, failure of which a legal action will be instituted against your institution. Be informed that, I have made this letter an open one (officially to NOUN and also to members of the public on the social media), in order to give it the widest publicity and coverage as much as possible. I have written a number of letters in the past for errors in my results using the various emails provided on your official website without reply or acknowledgement of the correspondence.  

Thanks, while anticipating favourable response and invitation to resolve this embarrassing issue. I remain oppressed until this issue is positively resolved.  

Dr. Raimi, L. MNIM, FAAE, FCENT wrote via luq_man2001@yahoo.com.

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