By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA- A total of N185 billion has been expended on the training of 35,000 Nigerian scholars by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund.
The scholars,drawn from public tertiary institutions across the country,were trained by TETFund under its academic staff training scheme.
Acting Director of Academic Staff Training and Development, Alhaji Abdullahi Imam, who stated this when the representatives of the TETFund scholars Alumni Steering Committee paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono in Abuja, also disclosed that the scholars were trained both locally and internationally.
Alhaji Imam said the TETFund Scholarship for Academic Staff commenced in 2008 with the sole aim of training and up scaling the educational capacity of the academic staff of beneficiary institutions adding that the project is the second in expenditure after infrastructural projects of the Fund.
‘’The training is both locally and foreign, to enable them conduct and access cutting edge research facilities, quality teaching and learning and global networking.
“It will interest you to know that we have so far trained about 35, 000 scholars and a whopping sum of N185 billion was expended in that direction. It is a complete project of the fund, it is the second largest expenditure of the fund after infrastructure’’. Imam said
Alhaji Imam sought the Executive Secretary’s approval to have a TETFund Scholars Alumni to help identify areas of specialization and pool them into a critical mass of knowledgeable workforce and change agents for the development of the nation.
He stressed that that the alumni through its planned journals on issues like innovation and entrepreneurship, science, engineering and technology, art, humanities and social science would help to prevent or curtail intellectual flight.
Speaking on the reason for their visit, one of the scholars, Prof. Kinsley Nwozor, stated that they were at TETFund to expressed appreciation for standing by them throughout the period of their studies adding that even though some of them were tempted to stay back after their education, they have decided to come back to the nation to prove their mettle and showcase to the world that the dream of TETFund was a well-thought intention.
“There is no national agency that has done what TETfund is doing in Nigeria. An investment of N185 billion is not a chicken change. It is time for us to look at innovative ways of making TETfund stand out.
You have done so much with gigantic infrastructures in universities. We also believe that gigantic structures don’t make gigantic universities but gigantic minds.
” We are TETfund ambassadors wherever we are and with you by our side, there is nothing we cannot achieve.
People have learnt skills, gotten knowledge, this is the time to translate that knowledge to national wealth, others are waiting for us to begin to pass skills over to them and we are ever ready,”he said.
Speaking further,he said:”Nobody is funding us, it is purely voluntary, I came all the way from Awka, and my colleagues came from different parts of the country we are not here to become parasite to TETFund, we are here to become a source of revenue to TETFund for the development of this country.”
Responding, the Executive Secretary promised to support the scholars wherever they needed help, adding the first point will be to develop a database that will have all the names of the beneficiaries and their areas of specialization.
“We want to count our blessings even beyond the scholars. You are only a vessel. You are a vehicle through which we achieve our primary aim of improving the quality of teaching and learning in the higher institutions and also promoting research and making the findings of those research touch the lives of our people; translating those research and innovations so that people can consume them, improve their lives and generate income from them,” he said.