By Zainab A. Zakariyya

Hundreds of Nigerian students pursuing various Ph.Ds in different parts of the world, under the sponsorship of Tertiary Education Trust Fund that became stranded during the stewardship of Dr. Abdullahi Bappah Bichi have started receiving bail-out by the Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro’s administration.

Commencement of the bail-out which includes payment of both tuition and upkeep fees of the stranded students followed approval by both the Top Management and Board of Trustees of the Fund

Director of Public Affairs of the Fund, Dr. Jacob Alada, who disclosed this in a chat with Education Monitor in Abuja, Tuesday, said decision by the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Professor Bogoro was adopted in view of the different degrees of hardship the students were facing abroad.

Speaking recently with some of the TETFund-sponsored scholars from various institutions in the United Kingdom, the Executive Secretary who was accompanied on the visit to the scholars by some key staff of the Fund stated that the visit was not a jamboree but a fact-finding exercise embarked upon to ascertain the challenges facing them in respect of their studies and upkeep in the United Kingdom, with a view to resolving them.

Prof. Bogoro stated that the meeting with the scholars underscored the immense importance the Fund attaches to their training and well-being.

The Fund, the Executive Secretary confirmed, has sponsored over 24,194 scholars for various post-graduate degrees since the inception of the scholarship programme, with the United Kingdom playing host to about 500.

Speaking on the implementation of the scholarship programme, Prof. Bogoro stated that the scheme has not been without its challenges, some of which have had negative impact on the scholars.

The fluctuations in the Foreign Exchange vis-a-vis the Naira and the non-compliance with the Fund’s guidelines by the home institutions of the scholars are largely responsible for the plight of the scholars.

The Fund, according to Prof. Bogoro cannot turn a blind eye to the travails of the scholars, hence the decision to embark on the fact finding trip in order to correct the non-responsive posture of the last administration at the Fund to the plight of the scholars.

To this end, the Fund has placed a moratorium on the disbursement of 2018 allocation for Academic Staff Training and Development (AST&D) to Beneficiary Institutions until all outstanding issues related to the scholars’ school fees and upkeep are settled.

During the visit, the delegation received evidence of scholars’ indebtedness to their institutions abroad.