The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund), Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa, said the fund has so far spent a total sum of N100billion on the provision of physical infrastructures and academic equipment for tertiary institutions in Nigeria in the past one year.
Baffa, who made the disclosure during an exclusive interview he granted to the management team from the Daily Times Newspaper, in his office in Abuja, as part of activities marking his one year in office, also maintained that the primary focus of his administration is to build world class tertiary institutions that can match their counterparts in any other parts of the world
On the accusation from certain quarters that the agency is partially fulfilling its mandate by focusing on two areas namely: infrastructure and academic equipment, out of its 14 statutory interventionist areas, the TETfund boss said the accusation is a misconception as his administration is eminently balanced in the execution of its statutory mandate to ensure an all-round delovepment of every tertiary institutions
In a related development, the fund has also disbursed about N1.72billion to finance researches in different areas.
Baffa, who made the above disclosure while inaugurating two committees: the National Research Fund Screening and Monitoring Committee (NRF&MC) and the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Book Development, also noted that additional N1billion was allocated in 2016 to beef up the intervention and that one of the concerns of the fund in respect of the implementation of the intervention, is quality of research proposals that are being submitted by applicants.
He further said, the sum of N2 billion seed grant was dedicated for lecturers in various public tertiary institutions to assess for the development of manuscript into books.
The National Research Fund (NRF), according to him, was introduced to resuscitate research activities in the national public tertiary institutions to support scholars meet up with the requirement teaching, research and community service.
“Conducting quality research in our public tertiary institutions will not only engender national growth but will also raise the standard and the global competitiveness of Nigeria’s education system,” he said.
The TETfund boss also maintained that to achieve research and development driven socio economic process in the country, a coordinated, properly focused and cutting edge researches in all critical areas are required to be anchored by scholars in the higher education institutions.
While urging the committees to help in accelerating Nigeria’s journey to building a strong and responsive knowledge economy, he noted that Chairmen and members of the committees consist of wide range professionals drawn from the academia and some relevant parastatals under the Ministry of Education.
However, the MRF&MC committee will be chaired by the Vice Chancellor of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof Abdalla Adamu, while the TAG committee will be chaired by former Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Prof Olufemi Bamiro.
In his acceptance speech, Prof Adamu commended the initiative saying African scholars have been left below as thousands of researches are left in the library.
He said this is an opportunity for them to contribute to global best practices and to ensure that they are also uploading and not downloading researches from the western world.