By Rotimi Ojomoyela – Ado Ekiti
The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund), Prof Suleiman Bogoro, on Saturday described research as the best way to actualise radical development of the nation.
Bagoro who called for more investment in research in the country’s universities, said no country can develop or make headway in innovation without adequate investment and exploration in research.
The TETfund boss added further that the federal government agency had signed Memoranda of Understanding with foreign universities to boost Nigerian ivory towers’ statures in global reckoning .
Bogoro made the statement at the Afe Babalola university, Ado Ekiti(ABUAD), on Saturday, while delivering a lecture to mark the 12th founder’s anniversary and 9th convocation ceremonies of the private university.
In his lecture entitled: “University As Catalyst for Regional Economic Development”, Bogoro also advised the university administrators to place high premium on research.
According to him, “Endowment, research foundations are the DNA of Ivory towers over time. But sadly in our country, we are treating universities as if they are political enclaves, rather than enclaves or platform for deepening knowledge, creating knowledge and innovation, which is beyond average; that is why universities are called the ivory towers.
“Unfortunately, we have gone in the wrong direction for quite a while. Sometimes, you see square pegs not being placed in square holes, even within the university system and these are areas that bothers us.
” If you do not have somebody that believes, promote, encourages and support problems solving research presiding over the university, then that university is destroyed. I just hope we are able to change this for our nation to grow”.
Bogoro said TETfund has been striving hard to make Nigeria universities gain recognition globally,by signing MoUs with with regards to using the platforms to catalyse regional economic development.
“As part of the new paradigm at TETfund, we are committed to the internationalization of our tertiary institutions especially our universities. We are conversant with the ranking indices, metrics and parameters of universities globally.
“We are equally aware of the present status and positions of our universities on the parametric tables of global ranking of universities. TETfund under my leadership is committed to ensure improvement and we are indeed changing the narratives in our universities.
“A case study is the new ranking status of University of Lagos and University of Ibadan globally. The improvement has been linked to the new R&D driving vigor of TETfund and ongoing innovative bold actions especially the prioritization of content development that are disrupting the ugly status quo”.
Speaking further, the TETFUND boss said the agency in May 2020, secured a 25% tuitions discount for Nigerian sponsored TETFUNDs’ scholars to undergo PhD degrees at Morgan State University, Baltimore, Mayland USA.
“This historic MoU was signed at the peak of first wave of Covid-19. The MoU was significant because both the World Education Service (WES) and Test of English Language requirements for TETfund’s scholars studying at MSU under this agreement were waived”.
In his submission, the founder of ABUAD, Chief Afe Babalola(SAN), said there is need for the law establishing TETFUND to be reworked to allow for private universities to benefit funding from the agency.
Babalola was also of the opinion that universities that are above 30 years shouldn’t be given funding by TETFUND for infrastructure development, clarifying that such monies were being allegedly expended on frivolities.
“Instead of giving any well established universities monies to build guest houses, they should be given funds for research and innovation”.