Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) recently celebrated its 10 years of intervention in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. On the occasion, critical stakeholders agreed that the Fund has become a lifeline to public tertiary institutions.
The event, held in Abuja, with captains of industry, academia and public functionaries in attendance, had stakeholders commending TETfund for going beyond its mandate of physical infrastructure to research and development.
Formerly known as Education Trust Fund (ETF), TETFund which was established to intervene in the areas of essential physical infrastructure for teaching and learning, instructional materials and equipment, research and publication, academic staff training and development, educational support services, and any other need has taken a new developmental dimension under the leadership of Professor Suleiman Bogoro.
In his speech during the ceremony, the permanent secretary of the federal ministry of education, Arch Sonny Echono said the Fund has changed the physical landscape of tertiary education in the country for the past ten years.
He said, “I want to commend TETFund for this tremendous achievement recorded in the last ten years in changing the physical landscape of our tertiary institutions and more importantly, for developing the manpower, the capacity in our teaching and learning environment across the entire tertiary institutions in the country.”
Also speaking, the governor of Kebbi state, His Excellency, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu said the evidence of the performance of the Fund deserves commendation from every Nigerian.
The governor said, “The fund has done well. In fact, if one is just scoring TETFund in terms of value for money I’m sure it will be very difficult to score less than 10.
“Their judicious use of fund has ensured that it is respected by all stakeholders in the polity, from academic staff union to students, to university administrators to social commentators, critics and management of our educational institutions, political office holders and this is no doubt an evidence of the performance of TETFund,” he added.
Earlier, the founder of EKO hospitals, Dr Sonny Kuku, who was chairman of the occasion commended the Fund for delving into research and development, saying that everyone who looks at the mandate of TETFund will be happy because universities are not only about physical development.
“So I must congratulate TETFund for diversifying into research and development. If I’m to score from 0-10 I would say TETFund has done at least 9 out of 10.
On his part, the executive secretary of TETFund, Professor Suleiman Bogoro, in his opening speech said TETFund since inception, has recorded tremendous achievements in transforming the landscape of Public Tertiary Education in Nigeria from the education tax collection remitted to the Fund.
He said based on the annual allocation to beneficiary institutions over the past 10 years (2011 -2021), TETFund has succeeded significantly in its mandate, through provision of intervention support across its various intervention lines.
Bogoro mentioned some of the intervention lines to include physical Infrastructure/project upgrade, scholarship for academic staff, library development, ICT support, professional and academic research journals, post-doctoral fellowship, academic manuscript development, conference attendance teaching practice, Institution-Based Research (IBR), National Research Fund (NRF)/Mega Research Grants, Centres of Excellence, amongst others.
He noted that over the past decade provided massive support in the area of construction of physical projects with an estimated total of over 152,838 infrastructural projects carried out across public institutions.
“These projects include lecture theatres, classrooms, hostels, offices, road networks, laboratories and fencing in some institutions in different parts of the country.
“Also in a conscious effort to support the capacity of lecturers in public tertiary educational institutions, the Fund created the Academic Staff Training and Development Programme. To date, the Fund has sponsored close to 30,000 lecturers for master’s and Ph.D. programmes in both local and foreign institutions.
The TETFund said considering the vital role that libraries play in educational institutions, TETFund has also allocated substantial funds to public Federal and state Tertiary Institutions for the acquisition of library books, e-library resources and academic manuscript development to books in order to promote and support research, teaching and learning.
“So far, the Fund has procured over 2,080,041 books for use in the libraries, 152,844 E-Resources and 380,778 equipment and furniture distributed across public tertiary institutions in Nigeria. I am pleased to inform you that upon recommendation of the Hon. Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that TETFund completes the National Library which symbolizes institutional repository of knowledge and research globally.
“In 2011, the Fund launched the National Research Fund (NRF) with a seed fund of N3 billion as its take-off grant to support cutting edge research in areas of critical national need and development; and in 2015, N1Billion was added. Following the approval of the TETFund Board of Trustees in 2019, the NRF allocation became annual and N5Billion was approved for that year. In 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari approved an additional 50% increase in allocation to the NRF, being N7.5Billion for that year and N8.5Billion in 2021.
“So far, a total sum of N9Billion has been accessed by lecturers to finance their research activities. A total of 457 research projects have been approved across the country, some have been completed while some are still ongoing.
“Apart from the above intervention mentioned, the Fund also allocates funds on an annual basis to support Academic Research Journals and institution Based Research (IBR) for research projects that are not more than N2Million per project across public tertiary institutions. So far, about 2,175 projects have been approved for Institution Based Research and 342 Academic Research Journal projects were undertaken between 2011 and 2021,” he added.
While reiterating commitment to providing focused and transformative intervention in our public tertiary institutions, he said the Fund’s main ambition for the future is to champion the establishment of a National Research and Development Foundation (NR&DF) for Nigeria, in order to make Nigeria’s economy more competitive in all spheres through sustainable funding and management.
He also said this include “Institutionalization of the Triple Helix Model which will culminate in the alliance of the academic, the private sector and the government for a knowledge-driven economy and improving the ranking of universities in particular and the other beneficiary institutions in Nigeria through deepening research, building manpower capacity of the academia and enhancing research infrastructural base.”
Bogoro further reassured that as the Fund marks 10 years of impactful transformation of our public tertiary educational institutions, it will continuously contribute positively to making public tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria truly globally competitive and to the overall economic and technological development of the country.