BY SYLVIA OLOWOJOBA IDOWU
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has signed, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French Government and other top institutions in France to facilitate the training of Nigerian Laboratory Technologists.
The MoU is specifically on a hands-on training programme for 500 technologists from Nigerian tertiary education institutions, designed with Campus France and the Association of Institutes of Technology of France (ADIUT).
The signing ceremony which took place at the Embassy of Nigeria in Paris recently was a sideline event of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Paris on the summit on African economies.
In attendance to witness the event was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama who in his remarks gave credence to the partnership between the two countries, whilst also underscoring the importance of Research and development to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Nation.
In his remarks, the Nigerian Ambassador to France, Ambassador Kayode Laro who incidentally resumed office a few days before the event also posited that the MoU will no doubt engender strong institutional collaboration between France and Nigeria.
Also in attendance were the newly appointed Nigerian Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Nigeria to UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Dr. Hajo Sani; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Abdullahi Omaki and Deputy Executive Secretary of National University Commission (NUC), Dr. Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf who also signed an MoU with HCERES on behalf of the Commission.
Others are TETFund Director of Research & Development/Centres of Excellence, Dr. Salihu Girei Bakari; Acting Director, Public Affairs of TETFund Mr. Abdulmumin Oniyangi; a Consultant on Innovation to TETFund, Mr. Temitope Toogun and other Nigerian Embassy staff present.
Representing the French Government, a member of the French Parliament, Ambassador Patrice Anato, who spoke through an interpreter, stated that he looked forward to a successful collaboration and expressed hope that the partnership would open a vista of opportunities for possible collaborations in other sectors between the French and Nigerian governments. Also, in attendance as part of the French team were the Director of International Relations of ADIUT, Mr. Olivier Ribault; Director General of HCERES, Mr. Thierry Coulhon, Representative of Campus France, Mrs. Beatrice; Ms Leila Mathieu of the French Embassy in Nigeria and a host of other officials of various French organizations present at the event.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro posited that the various partnerships between the Fund and the French government are in tandem with the initiative already introduced by the Management of TETFund to deepen Research and Development, he added that no meaningful research can be achieved without the necessary support of the Laboratory Technologist more so that the Fund had procured some technical equipment for some of the tertiary institutions by Skill G it therefore becomes necessary that requisite training is undertaken in order to get full value. Prof. Bogoro ended his remarks by expressing excitement that the event is happening during the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to France.
Also speaking at the event before the signing of the MoU, the Director of International Relations of ADIUT Mr. Olivier Ribault expressed excitement that since the establishment of the French Institute of Technology in 1966, this is the first time the Institute will be having a partnership with an Anglophone country in Africa and he is therefore looking forward to a successful collaboration with TETFund.