The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Arc. Sonny Echono, has said the Fund will waive its planned sanction for polytechnic lecturers who collected money for conference attendance but failed to embark on the exercise.

Echono, who stated this in Abuja on Thursday, during a courtesy visit by association of heads of polytechnics and colleges of technology in Nigeria, said, “Many institutions have not been able to access our provision for conference attendance, those that are able to access, some have not attended.”

“Indeed, for those who have not been able to attend their conferences that we are trying to punish or introduce sanction for, we will offer this (Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa, ATUPA, conference ) opportunity, this window for those who have outstanding, who has collected money that have not used it, we will approve, so that they utilize it and go and attend the conference to take them off the hook of those that will be asked to refund the money they collected without attending the conference.”

While commending the association for ensuring stability in the polytechnic sector, the TETFund boss harped on the need to mass-create innovation hubs and skills development centres in polytechnics to boost the employability of graduates, adding that the Fund would ensure the desired support in that regard.

“Everyone agrees that the work of tomorrow is not so much about certificates as in the skills set that you have. The things you can do and the soft skills ; about critical thinking, skills on creativity, the ideas that you have and that is why we must cautiously and progressively create innovation hubs in our polytechnics, that level of manpower is what is required in today’s workforce,” he said.

“When I was in the ministry, we received a briefing about an earlier intervention by TETFund in polytechnics and universities in supplying equipment intended to facilitate this and the feedback we had was that most of them were not being utilized, and were not even sure whether they were actually supplied.

“So we have to undertake an audit and to our surprise, we discovered these equipment were supplied and unfortunately, they were lying idle and those that were trained at the time had moved on.”

On the request by the association for the review of the sharing formula of TETFund intervention funds in favour of polytechnics, Echono said :” The issue of the sharing formula is entrenched in the law establishing TETFund, so it will require an amendment of the law to effect any change.

Earlier, the chairman of heads of polytechnics and colleges of technology in Nigeria, Engr (Mrs) Olufunke Akinkurolere, had called for more favourable TETFund’s allocations to polytechnics among other requests.

Akinkurolere, who doubles as Rector of Institute of Technology, Igbesa, Ogun State, said : “Polytechnics are more capital intensive than other institutions. We, therefore, appeal that the TETFund reconsider the sharing formula for the normal intervention to tertiary institutions in favour of polytechnics.”

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