Many Nigerian lecturers have rejected the recent scrapping of Masters and PhD. scholarships for teachers in the Arts, Social and Management Sciences by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund.

The Fund had recently published a circular detailing the courses and programs it would hence forth sponsor lecturers on, leaving out many courses in the Arts, Social and Management Science faculties.

The document, titled: ‘Approved Overseas Masters and PHD Courses/Specialisation With Effect From August, 2021’, was signed by the TETFund’s Head, Academic Staff Training and Development, on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro.

According to the document, some of the overseas masters and Ph.D. courses/ specializations that would be prioritised with effect from August 2021 include Aeronautical and Astronautically Engineering, Biosciences, and Biomedical Engineering.

Others are Material Science and Engineering, Industrial Systems and Engineering, Geosciences, Behavioural Sciences, Nuclear Engineering, Oceanography, Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering.

However, some of the courses scrapped included Law, languages, Mass Communications, Political Science, Economics, Accounting, Business Administration, Sociology and many other art-based courses.

This development angered many academics, with some lamenting the hurried nature of the decision without holding consultations with stakeholders.

One of the academics, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent that the new policy is too strict, saying that the Fund should have consulted with many stakeholders before arriving at the decision.

“We feel that this new directive by TETFund is draconian and should not have come without any notice.

“People should have been informed in advance because many of the affected lecturers have spent a huge amount of money securing admissions abroad.

“Better still, TETFund should have reduced the number of allocations for the Arts and increase that of the Science and Engineering,” the lecturer said.

Meanwhile, the TETFund Boss had recently explained that the decision to prioritise science-based scholarships for masters and PhD courses/specialisation was approved by the Board of the Fund.

Speaking at a one-day stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja, Mr Bogoro said Arts and Social Sciences were not totally scrapped, but more emphasis would now be placed on Masters or Ph.D. programmes that are science-based.

While stressing the importance of research to national development, Mr Bogoro said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been consistent in approving funds to see that academics churn out quality research that would address emerging challenges bedeviling the country.

He said this accounted for the setting up of the National Research Fund, which has increased from N3 billion to N8.5 billion in recent times.

Mr Bogoro, who expressed delight that Nigeria is moving closer to an emergence of a National Research and Development Foundation, challenged academics to turn around the fortunes of the country through cutting-edge research.

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