By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–THE Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, has said Nigerian academics undertaking PhD studies at Morgan State University, MSU, in Maryland, USA will, henceforth, prioritise three key areas of specialties, namely; Public Health, climate change, and Computer Technology.
Speaking at a meeting with authorities of the university in Baltimore, USA, which was also streamed virtually, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, said the areas of specialties were in view of the challenges of desertification, flooding, other climate-driven, health and developmental problems confronting country.
Bogoro, who is leading a team from the fund to MSU on a partnership visit from June 21 to 23, said the three key areas were identified during his chat with MSU President, David Wilson, adding that these should be some of the areas of priority incoming scholars should undertake now and in the future.
“He identified the area of climate change, climatology, as absolutely important. And we know it, with desertification, flooding and sorts of challenges that are climate-driven, with the uncertainties of climate and weather, we will be happy to have some of our scholars to go into that area.
Speaking on public health, he noted that “this is very important, not just for the state of Maryland but for United States and perhaps, even more profound, for us back in Nigeria. The issues of public health are so obvious. Once there is population and in our own case, uncomfortably skyrocketing population.
“I am saying so because you know the challenges that go with it. The rate of population that is higher than GDP growth rate is never good for any nation. And if the provision for infrastructure and interventions cannot catch up with the increasing population it is a problem.
“And in the case of public health it is very obvious; the challenges for public health are very obvious. There are so many things associated with it. Is it the issue of sanitation, of course, availability or otherwise of portable water? You can go on and of course the obvious public health challenges in terms of the diseases out there are uncountable.”
The TETFund boss described Information and Communication Technology, ICT, as the master of very other thing and like a vehicle that drives, and shapes most other things.
He added that “we are in an era that science and technology, and innovation and cutting edge learning shape the world. These are the areas we want our scholars from Nigeria to come and share the benefit of academic knowledge with a great research university of MSU quality.”
Recall that over year ago, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Morgan State University to enhance research and academic cooperation.
Bogoro said he and Wilson, had some moments in his office on Monday to discuss issuers that were profoundly beneficial to the MoU that was signed last year.
“We had deep reflections; we do that regularly but we needed to compare notes. He spoke and I spoke, and midway, at some point he was saying some things that just look naturally, those kinds of things that I have been reflecting and even communicating out there in the media in Nigeria,” he said.
He expressed happiness over the performance of Nigerian PhD scholars in the institution, adding that the team was there to see some of them after TETFund signed the MoU a little about a year ago.
“We couldn’t be more proud for you to join us and make presentations on areas that have been carefully identified. This is one of the greatest moments. Partnership becomes imperative. It is a global trend. No nation, if you thing you are the strongest you make mistakes, if you think you don’t need partners.”
Also speaking, the Assistant Vice President, International Affairs of MSU, Yacob Astatke, expressed hope that PhD scholars from Nigeria will take the opportunity provided by TETFund to major on the areas outlined by Bogoro, adding that at the moment, the university has close to fifty PhD scholars from the country.
Astatke, who was the host of the meeting, has been instrumental to cementing the partnership between TETFund and MSU.
The MSU official also gave opportunity to a number PhD scholars from Nigeria to make presentations on their Doctoral research being pursued in various fields.