The Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro, has said developments in the tertiary education sector in the last few years have shown that most of the institutions would have been in a more terrible state were it not for the intervention of the Fund in the sector.
This is just as he said the Fund has changed the landscape of most publicly-owned tertiary institutions in the country.
He, therefore, called on the National Assembly to do the needful by enacting a law that would make more resources available for the Fund.
He stated this in Lagos while delivering the University of Lagos, UNILAG, School of Postgraduate Studies Annual Lecture for the 2019/2020 Academic Session.
The lecture was titled: Funding postgraduate education and research in Nigerian universities.
Bogoro, who noted that with the level of intervention by the agency in institutions across the country, some of the schools could even be named after the Fund.
“We, however, must commend the efforts of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, that led to the setting up of the Education Tax Fund, ETF, that metamorphosed into TETFund. The agitation by ASUU then, between 1988 and 1992, led to the setting up of ETF. I was an official of the union at the Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi then.
“The importance of TETFund can be seen when one goes to our higher institutions and see projects executed by the Fund there and also how we have helped raise the number of our teaching staff who now have doctorate degrees in various fields.
“We are also not relenting as we have increased the number of beneficiaries of our postgraduate sponsored programmes. We have also raised the National Research Fund to N7.5 billion and we hope to even raise it further soon. In the same vein, we have increased grants for Institution-Based Research,” he stated.
While listing various sources of funding for postgraduate education and research, Bogoro explained that some applicants for the grants fail in their bids because their applications are poorly presented.
On the fallouts of the impact of COVID-19 on education in the country, he opined that research and innovation could be the means for the country getting out of the woods.
He canvassed that university lecturers going on sabbatical could do so in industries relating to their fields or in research institutes.
He commended the Vice- Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe who initiated the annual lecture in 2008 when he was the Dean of the postgraduate school.
He promised that the Fund would soon release money for the completion of the Scholars’ Suites in the university.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the event, Dr Ernest Ndukwe, said postgraduate studies and research are important to a nation’s economy.
He added that the private sector and educational institutions must work together for the benefit of the country.
In his address, Prof. Ogundipe noted that universities must do research and get the results adopted to solve societal problems to remain relevant.
In the bid to get as many of its students as possible to get grants for their efforts, the VC said the university never took training of students on how to write winning proposals with levity.
“That is paying off. In the last few months, we have attracted over N12 billion as grants from various sources. Only recently too, two of our colleagues got €32,000 and €18,000 as grants from foreign sources.
“We are also really grateful to TETFund for its support to us. We know that without research, our mandate would not be fully discharged,” he said.
The Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Prof. Alabi Soneye, said funding higher education has become a major challenge in the country.
He called on corporate bodies and well-meaning individuals to come to the aid of the students.
He recalled that the annual lecture had attracted many speakers including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Ooni of Ife, the Sultan of Sokoto among other eminent personalities.