Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, former Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), has called on universities and other tertiary institutions in the country to intensify research and community services to boost national growth.
Bogoro made the call on Saturday at the 11th Convocation Lecture of the Nile University, Abuja, in a paper titled: “Reasserting the Pivotal University Roles of Research and Community Service for National Development”.
He said that universities must serve as think tanks for national development.
“It is very important that the ultimate objectives for both theoretical and applied research are carried out to conclusion. This is why the justification for any research enterprise is clearly expressed in all research proposals.
“There must always be justified anticipated deliverables that must be problem-solving. It took the injection of science and innovation for Malaysia to have imported our oil palm and has, over the years, turned its innumerable value chain into a goldmine.
“Equally important, therefore, is the need for universities and industries partnership to boost the quality of research. The example of the TETFund Research and Development Standing Committee (RDSC), where academic and industry were remarkably blended, is a good reference for this partnership.
“Their recommendation for the establishment of National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF), remains a pace-setter and most desirable bold step to place our country in the right trajectory for the Knowledge Economy,” he said.
He emphasised the need for universities to carry out services around their areas in order for them to be relevant in both the local and larger context.
“For universities to be relevant in both the local and larger contexts, they must be seen to undertake research and community service that address and solve problems and needs of the university community.
“The universities must strive to meet the needs and demands of the immediate community and the nation at large.
“In many cases, some community services also serve as avenues for additional income for the Faculty members, thus becoming a win-win situation for both the community and the lecturers.
“Unfortunately, this is one area that has not been explored enough to the benefit of universities and the community. There is a need to review the current status and relationship between universities and communities for both local and national interests.”
Bogoro commended President Bola Tinubu for paying four months out of the eight months of salaries owed lecturers in public universities due to strikes.
“President Tinubu, in his inaugural address, vowed to end the embarrassing cycle of ASUU strikes in our universities. He has just paid four months out of the eight months of withheld salaries of university lecturers in public universities.
“He has also commendably approved a Student Loan Scheme aimed at relieving students of indigent parents and also making available part of the loan to address the financial squeeze arising from non-payment of tuition fees in public universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
“With the recently increased annual budgetary allocation for the education sector, in addition to the increased Education Tax from 2.50 to 3.00 percent through TETFund, more funds are to be deployed to address non-budgetary funding intervention priorities for public tertiary institutions, being the justification for the establishment of TETFund ab-initio,” he said. (NAN)
Edited by Ephraims Sheyin