• Says Private Varsities, Others, ‘Ve Commenced Accessing TETFund’s Research Funds
  • Trains 100s of Academics Across Nigeria’s Tertiary Institutions on Research Abroad
  • Trainer, Dr. MCT, Commends TETFund For Its Vision, Committment To Research
  • Privileged Trainees Thank ES, Board, Promise to Step Down Training Back Home

By Waziri Isa Adam Who Was in Dubai

After protracted years of struggle and intense lobby by the proprietors of Private Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria, particularly Universities, to be included among beneficiaries of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund projects and other forms of support, the Professor Suleiman E. Bogoro-led management and Kashim Ibrahim Imam-led Board of Trustees have finally acceded to one of the demands of the Private Tertiary Institutions.

Decision to carry the Private-Tertiary Institutions along, according to the Executive Secretary, came two years after the Fund’s Board of Trustees granted approval for Private Institutions to benefit from the Fund’s N7.55 Billion National Research Fund (NRF) for the purpose of bolstering the conduct of cutting-edge research.

Professor Bogoro who make the disclosure, which will certainly not go down well with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which fought a fierce battle for the establishment of the Fund for the Sole purpose of funding only but the nation’s dilapidated Public Institutions, while declaring open a Four-Day meeting of TETFund’s 165-member Research and Development Standing Committee (RDSC) in Abuja recently.

Bogoro said since the inauguration of the TETFund RDSC on September 24, 2020, the committee has gone far in implementing President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to support government initiatives of responding to the threat of COVID-19 through ground-breaking research on phyto-medical drugs, prophylactics and vaccines.

In a related development, the Executive Secretary whose other name now is ‘Apostle of R & D’ has set another pace in the 10-year old history of TETFund, following his unprecedented sponsoring of foreign training of hundreds of Academics across Nigeria’s Tertiary Institutions  on the theme “Training of Trainers on Research Project Management and Writing Skills Capacity Building Workshop”.

Addressing participants at the Workshop recently in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, Professor Bogoro reiterated the Fund’s commitment to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the Research and Development Project becomes the livewire and main source for the provision of wealth and fortunes for Nigeria.

The Executive Secretary thanked the Nigerian government for giving him and the Fund opportunity to uplift the standard of the nation’s Public Tertiary Institutions and to offer the best training to Nigerian Academics.

The Chairman, Board of Trustees of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim Imam, identified some critical areas that have caught the attention of the Fund to include completion of E-learning Structures in 25 Universities across the country, Provision of 2000 bed space accommodation for students in 25 Universities in the country and Provision of 24/7 stable Power Supply across all Public Tertiary Institutions in the country.

Ibrahim Imam said other two critical areas are completion of the construction of Abuja National Library Project which was abandoned 16 years ago by previous governments and synergizing with competent financial consultants to generate, with the active support of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), a whopping sum of N500 billion in the year 2022.

The workshop, which the Fund organizes yearly for Academics from selected Public Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria, had attendees across all the tertiary institutions in the country comprising of Colleges of Education, Polytechnics and the Universities.

One of the resource persons, Dr. Michael C. Thompson, Commended the visionary commitment of TETFund towards Research, saying that the Fund’s philosophy of education will be beneficial in advancing knowledge, capacity building, informed decision making, health and economic benefits, as well as quality of life in Nigeria.

Dr. MCT said, “I really like the way TETFund is moving. From the speeches of the Executive Secretary, the Chairman, Research Director, and a host of other people, they all shared the notion that research has to have a return on significant investment.”

“I think at the moment TETFund is working towards being more proactive in encouraging more researches to move from the old school approach of publishing a paper, attending conferences but a good collaboration before, during and after the research and maintaining good relationships and the need to reach its target audiences which might affect public policy in health capacity building, knowledge and other areas.” He said.

“Even though I’m not really well versed in Nigerian government and their policy, however, what I see from TETFund is that, it appears there is investment, so I call for more investment in education”. He addec.

Some of the Privileged participants at the workshop who spoke to Education Monitor, expressed their appreciations to the ES and the Board of TETFund for giving them the opportunity to attend the workshop, with  a Promise to step down the knowledge acquired at the training to younger colleagues in Nigeria.

Professor Yaduma from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, said the workshop has enhanced the capacity of researchers in all the three arms of tertiary institutions-the university, Colleges of Education and polytechnics in Nigeria

“Hitherto before now, the skills we had was not adequate enough to enable us write grant winning proposals, but with this type of training which centered on writing grant winning proposals and it has covered every aspect of what it takes to write, develop and present grant winning proposals globally.” He stressed.

“To TETFund, they should keep this type of training; it should be sustained because it is very important. And to the beneficiaries of the workshop, they should put it into practice so as to win grants for their institutions and should also step the knowledge down to others back in Nigeria for them to benefit too.” Professor Yaduma advised.

For Professor A. Samuel also from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, the workshop was not an effort in futility as much was learnt on how to properly write research grant proposal that can attract funding as well as how to manage the fund to eliminate frustrations in the process.

He called on TETFund to localize some of its training to allow for more participation.

“Agreed, it is important that people go to England, Dubai and other places for such workshops which also help them to see how the world is, but when such courses are done abroad like this one, only few people can attend because of the cost. Though there are some courses that can only be done abroad for logistic reasons but I want to appeal to TETFund to organize some of these training in Nigeria so that our younger ones can directly benefit from it”. Professor Samuel Advised.

While commending the effort of TETFund, Morenike Ukpong of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, said, it was brilliant of TETFund to have done well for the logistics support, and in bringing all kinds of academics together as well as the quality of trainers they brought; advising that “next time there should be inclusion of local resource persons to also localize the training a bit”.

In the same vein, Dr Sani Ahmed Lawal from College of education Billiri, Gombe State, hailed the combination of the crop of academics from all academic strata, which he said helped in the Cross fertilization of knowledge.

“And bringing us together with universities and polytechnics is a good thing; we want TETFund to continue on that.” He said.

“Tetfund has been doing greatly in terms of infrastructural development and now is the high point of it which is on research and development. If you go to other countries you will see their advancement basically due to research and development and TETFund is focusing on that at the moment to fast track the nation’s development effort”. He added.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor of Nigerian Army University Biu, Professor Fatima Tahir, commended the effort of TETFund in improving quality of research in the nation’s tertiary institutions, saying that, “It is really assisting us in our own personal development as well as the development in our various institutions. And it is going to change the direction of our research in universities because we are in the era of research and innovation; and we need very innovative research where at the end of the day we will have products, patents and a lot of intellectual properties that would be developed as a result of that”. She said.

“I want to call on my colleagues to take something home and step such workshops down so as to help those at home to have access to the latest skills and facilities that we got here”, she added.

Also commenting on the workshop, Professor Ezekiel Best of University of Jos, said the training was quite inspiring in many ways. One, the subject matter may not necessarily be new but its discussion and delivery brought international and contemporary best practices to fore. It afforded an opportunity for staff from different levels of tertiary education to discuss the same subject matter but from different application or approach. The choice of venue for the workshop is fantastic with minimal distraction

and ideal atmosphere for such activities. Given the history of Dubai itself, participants were exposed to experiences of results of possibilities that can come out of very difficult and seeming impossibilities.

He added that one may also argue that it is possible to organize this type of activity in any part of Nigeria with benefits of more participants attending at lower costs. But the experiences will never be the same. Since this is a Train the Trainer, TETFund should facilitate the replication of this training, even at zonal levels. If this is not done, then one can be sure that only those who attended this training will be the ones who benefitted from the training. This is because the many activities and lack of motivation that abound on Nigerian tertiary education campuses will not allow for this training to be replicated at different tertiary institutions. Replicating this training at the various institutions has to be intentional to get results.

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