Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), says there will be a paradigm shift by investing more on the content components rather than only building or infrastructure of institutions.
Bogoro said this when the House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services paid an oversight visit to the fund in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that over 200 institutions had so far benefitted from the 15 areas of intervention of the fund which had progressively advanced the sector.
“Occasionally, we have reasons to update and review and add the few areas of interventions that are considered very important.
“We have to invest on the human capital through academic staff training and development. We have sponsored over 26000 for PhD and master degrees almost in equal number in overseas and within the country.
“We have recently introduced post-doctoral support for those who have just finished their PhD up to a period of five years for the purposes of undertaking post-doctoral research.
“We are hoping that those aspects will contribute to improving the ranking of universities that are at the first reference in terms of the education sector for any nation,” he said.
The executive secretary said that the fund had in 2019 introduced the Research and Development Department.
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari in the same year invested and approved the research grant of five billion naira under the national research fund of TETFund.
He said that the research and development and centre of excellence department of the fund had been supervising the utilisation of the approved grant
“Recently we approved 128 research grant and we are hoping if Mr president approves a proposal made by the board of trustees for an increase in the research grant, it will have positive impact on the sector.
“We are positive that we are likely to have an increment in that amount and with this there is increase awareness in the universities system that our universities, polytechnics and colleges of education cannot continue to emphasise teaching at the expense of research.
“That is the new area where we are investing massively. For some times now TETFund has been associated with merely building and we are saying that we want a paradigm shift. This is not to say that we will stop physical infrastructure.
“We need them but even more important is the content of building the relevant areas of support of competitiveness of universities,” he said.
Bogoro, therefore, said that if the submission by the board of trustees could be approved, there would be a TETFund center of excellence.
He said this would deepen intervention in the right areas of research such as manuscript development, library support, ICT, journals and conference attendance.
Responding, Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Mr Aminu Suleiman promised to ensure the protection of the fund.
He also pledged to explore areas where the fund would move from the present two per cent to an agreeable per cent.
Aminu said this would allow the fund to continue to exercise their work.
“TETFund is one organisation that we are not only passionate about but one of the best creations that Nigeria as a country and Nigerians have done is the establishment of the fund.
“The confidence and trust of the fund had made governnent to unofficially assume that capital of our institution now lies with TETFund.
“We have been doing the best we could do to. We have put machinery in place in the 8th assembly before its winding up but we could not conclude it.
“But I am sure we have the intention by the committee to reopen so we can see how the fund can be financially strengthen,” he said. (NAN)