By Favour Nnabugwu

THE Senate Committee on Education has charged the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETfund to come up with scholarship and loan scheme for indigent students in the country in order to ease the burden on parents and students of high tuition fees paid by them.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Uche Chukwumerije during a visit to TETfund in Abuja, said the tuition fees paid by students in most public tertiary institutions in the country is oppressive to indigent students.

Commending TETfund for its intervention role in tertiary education, the committee chairman who led other members of the committee on the visit, said that murmurs from some institutions and the public are pointers to the fact that the Fund can do more than it is doing with the resources available to it.

He said: “From the murmurs of some institutions and the public, it seems that the TETfund can do more than it is doing with resources available to it. The Senate Education Committee will appreciate a clearer picture of TETfund’s level of funds distribution to the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.”

He equally requested TETfund to furnish the committee with its profile of internally generated revenue having established Zonal Central Research and Teaching Laboratory and the Academic Publishing Centre.

“What is the proportion of fund spent and direct commitment of TETfund and on what project? As an intervention agency, it has initiated some projects which should be revenue earners, for instance, the Zonal Central Research and Teaching Laboratory and the Academic Publishing Centre.

In his response, the Executive Secretary, TETfund, Professor Mahmood Yakubu said the amendment of the former Education Trust Fund (ETF) by the National Assembly to TETfund last year has given the fund an sharper focus and direct target in the discharge of its responsibilities.

He noted that provision of learning, teaching and research infrastructure at tertiary institutions remains the priority of the Fund even as he added that the demand for infrastructure for learning and research is enormous.

Professor Yakubu remarked that increasing number of public universities which currently stands as 73 as well as increasing number of students is a major challenge to the Fund.

“By the time you add 73 universities, 50 polytechnics and over 60 colleges of education we are talking of funding of well over 200 tertiary institutions and the demands are so enormous. You may think we have quite substantial amount and we commit the available resources to enable us transform the tertiary institutions.” He said

He said the Fund would continue to support tertiary institutions in providing quality infrastructure to ensure that “no one is sitting on the window to receive lecture or on the floor in our institutions”

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