By AbdulAzeez Mantu & Philomena Chukwuma
Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) is insisting that all research proposals by lecturers and other scholars will be subjected to an anti-plagiarism test before being consider for funding of the agency.
This was made known by TETFund’s Executive Secretary, Sonny Echono, in Abuja on Thursday while on a courtesy visit by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU). He emphasize that only the proposals that will scale through the CVC-developed anti-plagiarism software would get its grant.
The Executive Secretary of the body frowned at the attitude of Nigerians that now depend fully on the internet or engage the services of foreigners in the writing of projects and theses.
He was quoted saying “We have received feedback, we heard it is now possible to go to the internet and copy complete thesis or to engage even private actors outside this country, some countries have become notorious for that and we believe in the anti-plagiarism device you have developed we go a long way in detecting this and ensuring compliance.
“Indeed, we have adopted a policy in TETFund that going forward all proposals coming to us for support must go through your system and receive certification that they have acquired the minimum standard required from all publishers and for all authors before they can benefit from our support.”
Echono equally charges universities to put more enfforts into ensuring that more Nigerians are studying in the country to preserve the huge resources being spent in foreign institutions abroad.
” If you look at the amount that we expend sending children across our shores – overseas for education, the cost per student sending people to Europe and America in particular, the cost to sponsor one child there is enough to train 15, 20 back here.
“Given the magnitude of challenges we face, we must find a way of looking inward, that is why we keep challenging, especially the private universities to create synergy and to compete with these foreign universities that are attracting our students,” he said.
In response to the TETfund boss, the chairman of CVCNU and Vice-Chancellor of Niger Delta University, Professor Samuel Gowon Edoumiekumo, said the body, established in 1962, has a membership of 218 universities approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
“The CVCNU serves as a platform for assisting Nigerian Universities attain academic, administrative and community relations excellence through cooperation and exchange of ideas of its leadership,” he said.
Professor Edoumiekumo, who was joined during the visit by the Secretary-General of CVCNU, Professor Yakubu Ochefu, among others, expressed delight over the committee’s partnership with TETFund in the area of anti-plagiarism and digitalisation of theses.
“The CVCNU is working closely with the Fund to deploy the thesis digitisation for Nigerian tertiary institutions. This is in addition to deploying our homegrown Plagiarism Detection Software called EagleScan.
“The application is a best-in-class solution that will enable all final year and postgraduate students to undertake a plagiarism check before they submit their long essays/thesis, Developed by a team of software engineers from six public and private universities in Nigeria, EagleScan plugs into several local research repositories and offers 14 features, including local language support, that make it stands out against local and international competitors.
“The Fund’s support for both projects is a significant turning point in the efforts to develop a National Academic Research Repository,” he said.
The CVCNU president, however, appealed to TETFund for support in its various programmes.
He listed areas of support to include “a review of the funding support to our beneficiary institutions to access tier-one journals and repositories to improve the research capabilities of our staff and students.
“To help build the capacity of academic staff for generating the content, especially video and 3-Dimensional images, to support teaching.
“Professional certifications in current IT platforms such as cloud computing, front-end development, cyber security and data visualization,” among others.