It was a moment of joy and celebration of academic success when doc toral theses of four lecturers of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Bauchi, caught the attention of TETFund as the agency selected and approved the theses for conversion into textbooks.
TETFund is an interventionist agency in Nigeria’s tertiary education sub-sector with a corporate objectives to provide funding for educational facilities and infrastructural development and promote creative and innovative approach to educational learning and service, among others.
The lucky academics are Dr. Saeed Isah Ahmed of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Dr. Babawuro Shuaibu of the Department of Vocational and Technical Education, Dr. Magaji Abba of the Department of Accounting and Finance, and Dr. Aminu Umar of the Department of Architecture.
The scholars, who could not hide their joy while speaking with LEADERSHIP Friday, lauded TETFund for finding their research works outstanding and worthy of conversion into textbooks.
They said the selection of their theses is not only a thing of joy, but an opportunity for them to intensify efforts in carrying out pragmatic researches that could address peculiar social real-life problems.
“You can plan to succeed, but it is not necessary that you can plan to be the best. So, choosing us amongst the thousands of those who have undergone PhD pro- grammes, both locally and internationally and then our thesis are considered worthy to be converted into textbooks is a moment of joy for us,” said Dr. Saeed Isah Ahmed, whose thesis titled ‘Optimal Planning for Landfill Gas Utilization as a Renewable Energy Source for Environmental Engineering’ is one of the luck four theses.
Ahmed added: “I felt honoured when
I got the news because I never expected it. When I came back from my PhD pro- gramme, I submitted my thesis through the University not knowing that TETFund is going to do something about it.”
He said the choice of his thesis for con- version into a textbook was not unconnected to the area he worked on, which is ‘Environmental Sustainability’ given the fact that environmental problems are contemporary issues.
“We have cases of typhoon, hurricane, flooding and the rest. So, these problems are related to human activities and I worked on municipal solid waste, biogas, that’s gas derived from waste, how it’s going to be utilized more prudently,” he explained.
Dr. Ahmed, who said Bauchi State was equally confronted with environmental challenges, posited that “our environment is been littered with solid waste, so my work was to convert these wastes into wealth, that is by proper disposal and tapping, collecting the gas produced from it for prudent usage, thereby adding value to the waste.”
For his part, Dr. Magaji Abba, of the Accounting and Finance Department Department in the Faculty of Management Sciences, he was elated for achieving a milestone and success on what he started.
According to him, for anyone to suc- ceed, there should must be dedication and commitment, adding that his dedication and the passion to succeed were the driv- ing forces for him in producing the thesis.
Dr. Abba noted that while pursuing his PhD, he tried to look at Universities both local and international in terms of their ranking, and discovered that the ranking is done based on their research performance and other things.
“In Malaysia where I did my PhD, they have many universities, about 100, but there are five which are among the best, so I decided to go for one of the best,” he said
He said crossing academic boundaries is his major passion, adding that “by the time you cross boundaries, it means mov- ing from your base to something different, trying to link the two and bring out something.
He said the quest to cross boundaries informed his decision to, as an accounting professional, start looking at something in environmental management “to see how I can marry the two.”
The academic argued that perhaps the decision to select his thesis along with those of his colleagues for conversion was informed by the uniqueness of the work.
“In research, the institution sponsoring you would always want you to bring something new and not just PhD,” Abba explained.
Also, corroborating his colleagues, Dr. Babawuro Shuaibu of the Department of Vocational and Technical Education, whose selected thesis titled ‘Conceptual Model for Integrating Information and Communication Technology in Nigerian Higher Education Institutions Offering Technical and Vocational Education,’ provided insights into how his work made it.
“The first time I received the news that I have a letter from TETFund that my thesis has been selected for conversion to textbook, I felt elated, delighted, I felt honoured that the time has come when Dr. Babawuro will make a great contribu- tion to, not only himself, but the entire academic community.
“It is not easy finding yourself in this capacity, not only being a PhD holder but now the special recognition given to me which actually brought me out in the so- ciety that yes I am making a great contri- bution to the academia,” he said.
He added that the choice of his thesis for conversion may be informed by some elements of uniqueness, “because
it shows migration from mechanical way of doing things to ICT things.”
“Conventionally, schools, especially those offering technical and vocational education are not really embracing the use of ICT tools or technologies.
“I think my work is considered for con- version into textbook because it consists a lot of information that are bound together, like I said, migration from conventional approach to ICT-based approach. So, I think it was because of that unique- ness that my work was selected,” Shuaibu said.
He noted that TETFund support will help him expand his research tentacles.
“TETFund in this context only spon- sor researches, of which one of the crite- ria is that the result must be published in a recognised or reputable journal or outlets so that the world will know about it.
“This is the first time I think TETFund will be sponsoring the conversion of the- sis to textbooks, it will publish 2000 copies, retain 1000 and share to other institutions and send in 1000 copies to the researcher, meaning your institution and yourself.
“We really appreciate TETFund for assisting us to make our work easier and successful. This will make impact in the society,” Dr. Shuaibu added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Aminu Umar of the Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, whose thesis falls among the lucky four worked on ‘Fire Safety in Factory Buildings in Nigeria’.
In their separate interviews with LEADERSHIP Friday, the outstanding scholars were unanimous that the decision to ele- vate their academic theses into textbooks will no doubt spur their research interests.
“We are now considering how independent investors can collaborate with us and see how we can apply these thesis into solving real societal problems,” Dr. Saeed said.
He hope that TETFund will continue to support university lecturers in conducting research exhibitions and conferences, saying such practices will encourage synergy between the academia and the real world.
“We have researchers who have worked on projects that are of standard and which have the potentials to be converted into business. For the fact that this is a Third World does not mean that the researches undertaken here are of low standard; Third World’s economies are usually virgin lands for investments,” he added.
He said challenges such as lack of enabling environment are some of the bottlenecks hindering Nigerian academics from making headway in carrying out re- search that could address immediate hu- man problems.
“Presently, I am the Head of the Depart- ment, but there is no internet service in my office, so these are small things that we shouldn’t be crying of, when we were in Malaysia even in our houses, we have internet, so there should be facilities available for us,” he pointed out.
The scholars who commended TETFund for the support also called on the agency to sustain the tempo in the interest of na- tional development.
“TETFund under Professor Suleiman Bogoro is doing well, we hope that they will continue to fund and support us so that we can move our educational system forward,” said Dr. Babawuro.